Updated at 10:15 a.m. Eastern with comments from Entercom CEO David Field.
Four days after Beasley Broadcast Group announced that it was acquiring a translator tied to WFNZ-AM in Charlotte for $150,000, the true reason for the company’s “addition” of an FM signal in the Queen City has been revealed.
W273DA, a class D translator at 102.5 MHz in Charlotte just acquired from Educational Media Foundation, is being sold along with Sports Talk WFNZ and the three stations Beasley in August placed into a trust in order to complete its proposed merger with Greater Media: Hot AC WLNK-FM 107.9 and News/Talk combo WBT-AM 1110 & WBT-FM 99.3 in Charlotte.
The buyer is Entercom Communications, and it is paying $24 million cash for the four Queen City market signals. WBT-FM’s city of license is Chester, S.C.
Michael J. Bergner of Bergner & Co. served as the broker in the transaction.
Maintaining ownership of WLNK and WBT-AM & FM would have resulted in surpassing the FCC’s limitations on ownership in the market. But, until now, talk of divesting WFNZ-AM and its FM translator had not been widely discussed.
The cluster is the radio broadcast home of the Carolina Panthers and the Charlotte Hornets.
In prepared comments distributed by Entercom, company president and CEO David J. Field said, “We are excited about the opportunity to enter the rapidly growing Charlotte market and acquire these very strong brands. We look forward to expanding the Entercom team and working hard to serve our new listeners and customers and the Charlotte community.”
Entercom has confirmed that it expects to being operating WLNK-FM and WBT AM & FM under a Time Brokerage Agreement (TBA) starting Nov. 1 and will begin operating WFNZ-AM under a secondary TBA on January 1, 2017 if the acquisition has not already closed.
Entercom expects the transaction to close in either late Q4 2016 or early in Q1 2017.
Beasley had stated in its own announcement that closing is expected to occur before the end of 2016.
Beasley intends to use the net proceeds from the sale of the four Charlotte signals to reduce its loan payments tied to the Greater Media purchase.
Beasley and Greater Media on July 19 entered into a definitive merger agreement whereby Beasley will acquire all of Greater Media’s outstanding stock for an aggregate consideration of approximately $240 million, subject to adjustments.
Under the terms of that agreement, Greater Media shareholders are expected to receive approximately $100 million in cash and approximately $25 million in Class A Beasley shares at $4.61 per share. At the opening bell on Oct. 18, BBGI shares were valued at $5.10.
In addition, shareholders of Greater Media will receive the net cash proceeds from the sale of its tower assets, estimated to be approximately $20 million.
Additionally, Beasley will repay approximately $82 million of Greater Media’s debt.