Clear Channel delays vote on buyout

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SAN ANTONIO -- Clear Channel Communications Inc., the nation's largest operator of radio stations, said Tuesday it will delay a special shareholders meeting to vote on a proposed $18.7 billion buyout.

The company reset the date of record used to determine which shareholders will be eligible to vote. Shareholders of record on March 23 will be able to vote at the April 19 meeting. The vote had been planned for March 21.

The company said the original record date no longer reflects the company's current shareholder base.

In November, two private equity firms -- Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP -- agreed to pay $18.7 billion for Clear Channel. They would put up $37.60 in cash for each Clear Channel share and assume an additional $8 billion in debt.

Clear Channel's biggest shareholder, Fidelity Management & Research, plans to vote against the proposed buyout, a person familiar with Fidelity's position told The Associated Press last month.

Fidelity owns nearly 11% of outstanding Clear Channel shares, and a "no" vote could pose a significant challenge to the deal because it requires approval by two-thirds of shareholders. Those who do not cast votes for the deal are counted as opposed.

The controlling Mays family, which would retain operational control, owned about 7% of the company's stock when the deal was announced.

Clear Channel shares rose 35 cents to $35.10 in electronic after-hours trading after falling 10 cents Tuesday to close at $34.75 on the New York Stock Exchange.
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