An unnamed source at the FCC disclosed yesterday that the agency’s commissioners have approved the proposed buyout of media giant Clear Channel Communications by a private equity group led by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners LLC. Cast more than a year after the $26.7 billion transaction was announced, the FCC’s 5-0 vote comes in spite of reservations voiced by FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, who, in the recent past, has objected to the acquisition of publicly-traded companies by leveraged buyout firms. (On that basis, Copps last month voted against the $1 billion sale of Clear Channel’s television stations to Providence Equity Partners.) Copps is expected to outline his concerns in a concurring statement or partial dissent that will be issued along with the agency’s formal announcement of the vote sometime next week. Under the pact announced in November 2006, Clear Channel agreed to sell all but 448 of its 1,150 radio stations to the Thomas H. Lee/Bain group for $39.20 per share. (The remaining 448 stations, all located in smaller markets, are being sold separately.) Clear Channel’s new private equity owners would also assume $8 billion in debt. The transaction still requires the approval of the Justice Department.
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FCC commissioners vote in favor of Clear Channel privatization
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