CBS Corp. to Spin Off Radio Unit

Leslie Moonves - Getty - 2016
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CBS Radio operates 117 radio stations in 26 markets, including New York and Los Angeles.

CBS Corp. plans to file for an IPO of its radio unit, the company said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

The company, led by chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, had said in March that it was exploring a sale or spinoff of the radio business. "The aim here is to unlock value for our shareholders," Moonves said at the time.

Wednesday's filing suggests that the company hasn't found a buyer willing to offer the price tag it finds appropriate.

"As previously announced, the company is exploring strategic options to separate its radio business," CBS said in its filing. "In connection with these strategic options, the company expects that CBS Radio will file a registration statement on form S-1 with the SEC during July 2016 relating to an initial public offering of shares of common stock of CBS Radio."

CBS Corp. previously also spun off its outdoor advertising unit. Similar to other entertainment companies, it has shed lower-growth assets to focus on core content businesses. CBS Corp. has also shifted to a focus on revenue streams outside of advertising, such as subscription revenue.

CBS Radio operates 117 radio stations in 26 markets, including 1010 WINS and WFAN in New York and KCBS and KROQ-FM in Los Angeles. The company estimates it reaches 70 million people in the U.S. a week. Bloomberg has estimated that it could be worth about $2.9 billion.

The company took a $454 million charge during the fourth quarter to reflect the declining "fair value" of the radio FCC licenses.

CBS began as a radio company in 1927.