Cox Media Group EVP Bill Hendrich reportedly conducted a company-wide Town Hall meeting the day before, but CMG remained mum — until now.
Cox Enterprises late Wednesday (6/26) formally announced that it has reached an agreement to sell Cox Media Group‘s radio station portfolio — as well as its CoxReps and Gamut national advertising businesses — to a new broadcasting company that is substantially owned by private equity funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management.
The transaction will expand the new company, which announced in February its purchase of Cox Media Group’s broadcast television group and the company’s radio, newspaper and television properties in Dayton, Ohio.
Cox’s radio properties in Dayton are comprised of Country WHKO-FM “K99.1,” a market leader in the Nielsen Audio ratings; Classic Hits WZLR-FM 95.3 in Xenia, Ohio, heard in Dayton at 101.1 MHz on W266BG; and News/Talk simulcast WHIO-AM 1290 & WHIO-FM 95.7.
Cox Enterprises will maintain a minority stake in the new company, which will not use the Terrier Media or “Camelot” names used in the asset purchase agreements and FCC Form 314 filings.
Rather, the new entity will maintain the name Cox Media Group and will be headquartered in Atlanta.
Cox Media Group operates more than 60 radio stations across 11 markets.
“We are happy our Cox Radio and national ad platforms will continue to be operated with our television group,” said Cox Enterprises President/CEO Alex Taylor. “Keeping these media businesses together gives us even more confidence in the future success of the new company. We have spent many years fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation across these businesses and are pleased to see that work will continue.”
David Sambur, a Senior Partner of Apollo and chairman of the buyer, added, “Cox has deep roots in the media industry and has stood for the highest quality in local journalism for the past 120 years. As we shepherd these businesses into the future, we are committed to investing in high quality programming and fostering innovation in local media.”
The transaction is subject to customary regulatory review and closing conditions.
Cox Media Group’s AM and FM holdings are located in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami, Fla.; Atlanta and Athens, Ga.; Tulsa; San Antonio; Nassau-Suffolk; and Houston.
To comply with FCC ownership limits, the buyer will need to divest two FM stations, one each in Orlando and Tampa.
These stations have been identified as WPYO-FM 95.3 in Maitland, Fla., serving Orlando, and WSUN-FM 97.1, a Tampa-St. Petersburg station branded as “97X.”
However, Cox Enterprises did not confirm this information in its announcement.
Eversheds Sutherland LLP and Covington & Burling LLP served as the legal advisors to Cox Enterprises in the transaction.
RBC Capital Markets LLC, Guggenheim Securities, LLC and LionTree Advisors, LLC served as the financial advisors and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Cooley LLP served as the legal advisors to the buyer in this transaction.