[opendtv] News: Emmis Exploring Sale of Stations

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: OpenDTV Mail List <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 08:02:15 -0400

"Given the challenges facing over-the-air broadcasting today, it is 
necessary for us to focus on our existing radio holdings."

Emmis Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan

There has been much discussion of late about "the death of 
broadcasting" as we know it. This issue bubbled up in numerous places 
at NAB, and recently several financial analysis groups have 
essentially stated that television broadcasters do not have a future. 
Stock prices for  corporations heavily invested in TV broadcast 
properties have languished for several years, even as as revenues 
have recovered from the last recession.

In what may be a sign of the times, Emmis Communications has 
announced that they are exploring the possibility of selling the 
groups 16 TV stations in order to boost the corporations' flagging 
stock price. Could this be the beginning of the end game, where the 
media conglomerate dinosaurs feed upon the dwindling food supply?



Emmis Looking to Sell Stations

By Allison Romano -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/10/2005 12:30:00 AM

Emmis Communications is exploring the possibility of selling its 
television stations, the company said today. Indianapolis-based Emmis 
owns 16 TV stations and 25 radio stations, as well as a radio 
network, international radio stations and a small publishing division.

"Given the challenges facing over-the-air broadcasting today, it is 
necessary for us to focus on our existing radio holdings," Emmis 
Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said on a conference call with 
analysts. The company has hired The Blackstone Group as their 
financial advisor to broker possible deals.

The possibility of a sale signifies a dramatic shift in Smulyan's 
stance on television. Less than 18 months ago, he unveiled a plan to 
air popular cable channels via digital broadcast. The idea never got 
off the ground, but it was a bullish attempt to produce a second 
revenue stream for broadcast stations and maximize digital spectrum.

Smulyan said he would consider selling the entire group or parceling 
off the stations. He also says television group President Randy 
Bongarten is investigating a management buyout in which Emmis might 
retain an interest in the stations.

Emmis owns five CBS stations, two WBs, three NBCs, five Fox 
affiliates and one ABC station. Its largest outlets are KOIN Seattle 
and WVUE New Orleans.

Also today, Emmis said its board of directors approved a "Dutch 
Auction" tender offer to buy back $400 million in stock. Smulyan said 
his company's stock is undervalued, and the buyback is the "best 
possible use of capital."

Via Shoptalk

Emmis Exploring Sale of Stations
By Jay Sherman

In a move designed to jump-start its flagging stock price while at 
the same possibly revive the TV station mergers and acquisitions 
market, Emmis Communications on Tuesday said it was exploring the 
sale of its 16 television stations.

The Indianapolis-based company said it hired The Blackstone Group as 
its financial advisor to evaluate strategic alternatives for its 
television assets. Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Smulyan said during a 
conference call Tuesday that he is open to all options, including a 
possible buyout by the management of the TV station operation.

The news sent Emmis shares soaring Tuesday morning. By midday Emmis' 
stock was up 20 percent, or more than $3, to trade at more than 
$18.50, after having trended downward for the past six months.

A sale of the TV assets comes as the company launches a stock buyback 
program to repurchase up to 20.25 million shares.

Both strategies are designed to jump-start Emmis' stock price, which 
has languished for quite a while.

Mr. Smulyan said that the challenges facing station groups these days 
forced the company to rethink its commitment to the business.

"We hope we can find our group a home that will allow them to 
continue and grow," he said during the conference call. "It's a 
difficult decision, but it's a right decision, and it sets us on a 
course that gives us the best opportunity to go forward in the 
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