Credit crunch claims another victim


According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the tight credit markets have at least postponed an attempt by the Hoiles family to buy out their private equity partners in Freedom Communications. The privately held company owns eight TV stations and several dozen daily and weekly newspapers. Blackstone Group and Providence Equity Partners backed one contingent of the Hoiles family in 2003 to buy out their cousins, rather than let the company be sold off entirely. The WSJ report says the family-controlled company had planned to borrow over a half billion bucks from GE Capital to fund a buyout of the two private equity firms, who had invested about 450 million in the ’03 restructuring. The hush-hush deal would not have required any FCC filing until right at closing, since it would not have created a change of control, with the 55% owners, the Hoiles, acquiring the remaining 45%. But now, don’t look for that to happen soon, since the borrowing will have to wait until the credit markets improve.