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The Lee/Bain win would have to be considered an upset in the sense that a competing consortium had initiated the buyout in tandem with the Mays family.

GORILLA GETS NEW HANDLERS

Private Equity Players Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Acquire the Radio Giant
The same players who bought a chunk of Warner Music Group three years ago this month are now the proud owners of Clear Channel Communications and its 1,150 stations.

Private equity firms Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital will shell out $18.7 billion, or $37.60 a share, according to reports from the wire services. For comparison’s sake, U.S. Airways just bid $8 billion for Delta Airlines.

The new owners have also agreed to assume Clear Channel’s $8.1 billion debt load, making the total purchase price $26.7 billion.

Just before news of the acquisition hit the wires, Clear Channel announced that it will sell off 448 of the 1,150 stations—none of them in the top 100 markets—and its 42 TV stations. These sale of these properties, which account for less than 10% of the company’s total revenues, will have no bearing on the acquisition.

The Lee/Bain win would have to be considered an upset in the sense that a competing consortium comprising the Blackstone Group, KKR and Providence Equity Partners had initiated the buyout in tandem with the Mays family, while Texas Pacific Group, which was part of the Lee/Bain consortium, pulled out yesterday, just after the close of bidding.

And in another surprise, Mark and Randall Mays will stay on to run the company, despite the fact that they had been working with the other bidding group, according to RBR.com.

The acquisition will obviously be subject to regulatory approval. It will also be contingent on the voting of CC shareholders. Neither is expected to be a major issue.

An official announcement is expected from Clear Channel some time today.

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