Emmis, which already owns WQHT, HOT 97 in New York, will nearly double the company’s annual station operating income through this acquisition.
“Today’s announcement is indicative of our belief in the US radio industry and our desire to increase our footprint in the nation’s largest market,” said Jeff Smulyan, President & CEO of Emmis Communications. “Emmis has deep ties to the New York African-American community, and it is with great pride we take the helm of these iconic stations.”
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The acquisition is subject to the expiration or earlier termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act of 1976, a standard anti-trust review. Emmis and YMF will request early termination of the waiting period, which could allow the company to begin programming the stations under a Local Programming and Marketing Agreement (LMA) on or around March 1. The monthly LMA fee will be $1.275 million until the first purchase price payment. Thereafter, the monthly LMA fee will be reduced to $0.74 million and will continue until the second closing.
The WBLS/WLIB operations and studios have been co-located with HOT 97 since 2012, and more than 40% of their employees are Emmis alumni.
Deon Levingston, CEO of YMF Media and General Manager of WBLS/WLIB, will become GM of Emmis’ New York cluster when the LMA commences. Levingston previously worked for Emmis in various management roles.
Moelis & Company acted as exclusive financial advisor to YMF Media in connection with the transaction. Edinger Associates PLLC served as counsel to Emmis and Greenberg Traurig, LLP served as counsel to YMF on the transaction.