Providence closes Clear Channel TV deal at lower cost, settles lawsuits

The private equity firm, one of its lenders and Clear Channel have dispensed all litigation pursuant to the purchase of Clear Channel’s TV group, for which Providence has paid 28 percent less than originally agreed.

Providence Equity Partners has closed at a reduced price its deal for 54 television stations owned by Clear Channel, clearing the path for the media giant to complete a larger deal – its $27 billion (€17 billion) take-private by Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

The TV station transaction had a total value just north of $1 billion, with Providence committing $260 million in equity, or 28 percent less than originally agreed. The deal’s total leverage amount was also reduced by $110 million, or 12 percent, the firms said in a statement.

All lawsuits associated with the deal have been settled. Providence had filed suit against one of its lenders, Wachovia, that did not want to honour its financing commitment after Providence and Clear Channel amended the deal. Wachovia was also suing Providence, which was the target of a lawsuit brought by Clear Channel to force the deal to close at its original $1.2 billion price tag.

The resulting Providence-backed company, Newport Television, will be led by Sandy DiPasquale, a broadcast executive who has previously led Providence portfolio companies including BlueStone Television.

“We’ve been looking forward to closing this transaction and are pleased to now begin working with Sandy, a leader we have successfully partnered with in the past, and the talented teams at these premier stations to add value over the long-term,” Al Dobron, a Providence managing director, said in a statement. “We also plan to identify additional high-quality television opportunities to grow the business.”

A spokeswoman for Clear Channel said Bain's and TH Lee's tender offer for Clear Channel expires Thursday and that the deal has received regulatory approvals from the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission.