After indicating for the past couple of years that he was interested in selling CBS Radio’s stations outside the top 10 markets, CBS Corporation CEO Les Moonves pulled down the “for sale” sign Thursday at the Nomura Media Summit in New York. The reason? Nobody wants to pay his price.
“The stations’ performance has improved greatly. There has been some activity out there, but we’re not…we’re not putting our heads in the sand and saying, oh, things are great and they’re never going to be bad again. But unless the prices are going to be stronger, we’re not interested in selling them now. It would have to be a really, really strong price. And there’s noting that fits that profile,” said Moonves.
Then he heaped praise on CBS Radio President/CEO Dan Mason and his management team. “There’s nothing that fits that profile and the Radio Division is in such great shape under their new management – not really new management, they’ve been there for a few years now – but we’re finding no great desire to sell them unless the price is pretty high,” Moonves concluded.
Of course, he was also asked about CBS Outdoor, since the Decaux family has repeatedly made public statements about their desire to have JCDecaux acquire the billboard company from CBS to expand its footprint in the US. Moonves noted that the outdoor business has also rebounded and there’s no pressure to sell the division. “We talk to him [Decaux]. Would, at the right price, we look at it? We look at everything. But there’s no, real great desire to sell it.
RBR-TVBR observation: As noted in our 6th Annual RBR-TVBR Financial Roundtable, the lenders are coming back to broadcasting, both radio and TV, particularly for funding larger deals. The CBS stations in such markets as San Diego, Phoenix and Orlando would certainly qualify. However, lending multiples aren’t hitting the levels they were at prior to the recession, so transaction multiples are lower as well. At these multiples, Les would rather have the cash flow than a cash-out.
The entire Roundtable is included in the latest issue of Manager’s Business Report. There’s no subscription charge for MBR, but you have to opt-in. If you haven’t done so already, click here.