Fools, put a fork in Clear Channel Communications'
Let's review the bidding here. In November, a group led by Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas Lee Partners LP, along with members of the company's founding Mays family, proposed to pay shareholders $37.60 a share -- or a total of nearly $19 billion -- for their Clear Channel shares. Almost immediately, Fidelity Investments, the world's biggest institutional investor and Clear Channel's largest shareholder, expressed consternation at the per-share offering level. Fidelity cited an analysis by advisory firm Glass Lewis that the nation's preeminent radio station operator really was worth $39.71-$41.40 a share.
The brouhaha didn't end there. Fidelity was joined by the company's second-largest shareholder, Highfields Capital Management -- together, the two money managers own nearly 15% of the total -- in protesting that the private equity offer wasn't enough. Then Institutional Shareholder Services, a respected New York-based proxy advisory firm, recently urged shareholders to vote "no" on April 19. That voting date is already a pushback from March 19, when the company's holders were originally scheduled to affirm or reject the deal.
Opponents of the buyout point to Clear Channel's 90% ownership of Clear Channel Outdoor
In the period leading up to the vote, Clear Channel Communications' CEO Mark Mays and his brother Randall, the company's president -- both sons of the company's founder, Lowry Mays -- have met with the company's largest investors in an effort to gain support for the buyout. They've been aided by their advisor, Goldman Sachs
But as I indicated above, everything suggests that Clear Channel Communications won't go private. Absent a sweetened offer, and once the "no" vote has been recorded in about two weeks, Fools would be well advised to monitor Clear Channel's progress carefully. Management will have a renewed incentive to seek increased shareholder value, from which Foolish investors seemingly could benefit.
We're clearly channeling related Foolishness:
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