Monday, November 27, 2006

Investor Calls Clear Channel Sale "Too One-Sided"

Financial Post reporter Barbara Shecter had this story on Saturday: Some shareholders, including Canadian fund manager Larry Sarbit, are unhappy with (last) week's multi-billion-dollar sale of Clear Channel Communications Inc. A private equity group led by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners said on Thursday it intends to buy Clear Channel, the largest radio company in the United Sates with more than 1,100 stations, for $19-billion, a roughly 10% premium to the share price. But some shareholders say the deal is detrimental to them because it offers more benefits to insiders -- namely the Mays family that founded the San Antonio, Tex.-based media conglomerate.

"This was an extremely one-sided deal," said Mr. Sarbit, whose firm, Winnipeg-based Sarbit Asset Management Inc., owns Clear Channel shares in a portfolio of 10 to 15 companies, primarily based in the United States. "I suspect there are others who feel this way.
It's particularly galling to sit here as a public shareholder ... and watch them sell the assets off, knowing we won't benefit from any of it," he added that Clear Channel is being sold just ahead of an expected turnaround in performance, the benefit of which is not reflected in the price Thomas Lee and Bain are paying for the company.

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