You've got to admire Cumulus Media's
This just in: Cumulus also plans to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.
I don't know what's more surprising: That tiny Cumulus with its $200 million market cap -- or $800 million in debt-saddled enterprise value -- is Citadel's lone savior, or that Cumulus was able to round up the financing to get the deal done.
Cumulus' desire to buy Citadel is nothing new. It tried to buy Citadel after the latter company emerged from bankruptcy reorganization -- yes, bankruptcy -- last year. Cumulus also rescheduled its quarterly report two weeks ago, specifically because it was in buyout talks with Citadel.
Cumulus senses a synergistic opportunity, but try telling that to Clear Channel (OTC BB: CCMO.PK) and CBS'
Cumulus will argue that it's living proof that the radio industry can turn itself around. After years of losses and sliding revenue, Cumulus posted a profit through the first nine months of 2010 on a 4% uptick in revenue. The wave of midterm election ads obviously helped, but Cumulus has genuinely done a solid job of whacking away at its corporate overhead. If it worked that cost-cutting magic on Citadel, it might really get rolling. Right?
Not exactly. The radio industry has changed dramatically on this side of the recession. Sirius XM Radio
Cumulus and its terrestrial peers have gotten behind Web-based streaming, but the advertising dollars aren't the same in cyberspace.
Huddling together is a better plan than dying alone, but investors are better off avoiding this industry altogether. Terrestrial radio will never be the same. Cumulus just has its head in the clouds.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz still listens to terrestrial radio, though Sirius and XM are more to his liking outside of home team sports. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.