Friday, July 6, 2018

Report: iHM Getting Closer To Finding A Buyer

Private equity firm Silver Lake Partners has recently shown interest in buying the bankrupt iHeartMedia — challenging John Malone, according to The NYPost citing two sources familiar with the situation.

Silver Lake is in talks with iHM creditors, the sources said, which are in line to take over control of the company once it emerges from Chapter 11.

If Silver Lake were to make an offer for iHM it may look to form a partnership between the owner and arena venue manager Oak View Group.

iHM bought a stake earlier this year in Oak View, which manages the New York’s new Islanders arena and for a fee books events into Madison Square Garden, the Prudential Center and Los Angeles’ Forum.

Silver Lake, too, owns a leading stake in the Ari Emanuel-run Endeavor, a leading talent and marketing agency, a combination of the former WME and IMG.

iHM, when it was known as Clear Channel, bought arena manager SFX Entertainment in 2000 for $4.4 billion. Clear Channel spun out SFX, which changed its name to Live Nation, in 2005.

Irving Azoff is a former Live Nation chief executive and now runs Oak View.

iHM is on pace to emerge from bankruptcy in early October, at which time it will reduce its debt from $20 billion to $10 billion and likely seek a buyer, a source close to the situation said.

Malone’s Liberty Media on June 15 withdrew its proposal to buy 40 percent of iHM for $1.16 billion, which, when factoring in the company’s $10 billion of remaining debt, values iHM at $12.9 billion.

“Liberty is not going to get iHeart at that price,” the source said.

Leading iHeart creditors believe the company is worth between $12 billion and $15 billion, the source said.

Bob Pittman, iHeart chairman and CEO, might prefer Silver Lake because it would be more likely to keep him in charge of the radio platform than Liberty.

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