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Mays Family Finds Buyers for Clear Channel, TV Stations for Sale

Clear Channel’s Mays family cut a deal with an investor group led by private equity funds Bain Capital Thomas H. Lee Partners to take the massive radio and TV company private for $26.7 billion. The agreement calls for Clear Channel investors to get $37.60 in cash for of their shares.

The company immediately said it will try to sell its 32-station TV group plus 448 radio stations outside the Top 100 markets in an attempt to reduce debt.

The company didn't specify the continuing role of the Mays family, which controls Clear Channel. But in a statement, the buyers spoke of a “partnership” with the Mays family and indicated that the sons of founder Lowery Mays, Mark and Randall, will have a substantial role in running the company.

Clear Channel is best known for dominating the radio industry, but also has a modest-sized TV group. Its 32 TV stations cover 25 markets, including duopolies. It’s only Top 25-market properties are less attractive independent stations, San Francisco’s KTFY and Seattle’s KVOS. Major network affiliates include Cincinnati WKRC (CBS); Salt Lake City’s KTVX (ABC), which is paired with CW affiliate KUCW; and San Antonio’s WOAI (NBC).

Clear Channel started soliciting financial players last month after some asset sales and substantial share buybacks did nothing for its stock price. The company's stock price has plunged over the past several years as radio revenue growth evaporated.