At least two bids from private equity firms were expected to be submitted for the major radio broadcasting company Clear Channel Communications Inc. as the deadline for offers passed on Monday, people familiar with the matter said.
One bid was likely to come from the group of Providence Equity Partners, the Blackstone Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., said a person familiar with the bidding process, speaking on condition of anonymity because Clear Channel had not yet decided when it would make a public announcement.
Another consortium reportedly interested in Clear Channel is comprised of Bain Capital, Thomas H. Lee Partners and the Texas Pacific Group, according to news reports. Another source familiar with the process, also speaking anonymously because there was no formal announcement, said at least one of those three planned to be involved in a bid submission.
Clear Channel, the largest operator of radio stations in the country, announced in late October that its board of directors hired Goldman Sachs as a financial adviser as it evaluated “strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value.” The announcement sent Clear Channel shares surging.
The company has refused any further comment since then, and a Clear Channel spokeswoman declined comment Monday.
Goldman Sachs also said Monday it had no comment.
Clear Channel’s founding Mays family owns about 7 percent of the company. Lowry Mays is chairman and his son Mark is CEO and son Randall is chief financial officer.
Analysts have said the strategic alternatives could include a sale of the company to a private equity firm or the founding Mays family.
Clear Channel owns or operates 1,200 radio stations. It also owns a majority of Clear Channel Outdoor, the outdoor-advertising segment that sells billboard and bus-stop ads. Outdoor advertising company JCDecaux last week expressed interest in acquiring Clear Channel Outdoor.
Shares of Clear Channel closed down 59 cents at $34.38 on the New York Stock Exchange, near the upper end of the 52-week range.
Media and entertainment analyst James Goss of Chicago-based Barrington Research said he thinks an offer would probably not exceed Clear Channel’s current share value by much.
“As a primary target I’m thinking a dollar or two above where it’s trading now is probably a more realistic value,” he said by phone, noting that there might be a premium if the company weren’t auctioned off as a “comprehensive whole.”
Analysts have said taking the company private could push shares toward a price of $37 to $40 each.