Delay again for Emmis shareholders meeting


For the seventh time, Emmis Communications late Thursday postponed a shareholders meeting to vote on legal changes to allow for founder and CEO Jeff Smulyan to take the company private. A company spokesperson said the meeting is to convene for the eighth time at 8:30 am ET Friday (9/3), but no other information was given.

After weeks of negotiations with a group of preferred shareholders who had been blocking the buyout, Smulyan thought he had a deal last weekend – but then his financial backer, Alden Global Capital, had second thoughts and said it would not go to closing on the renegotiated terms. Since Monday there has been no announcement by Smulyan, Alden or Emmis of any change.

Without Alden’s financial backing Smulyan can’t take his buyout of other shareholders at $2.40 per share to closing, so the agreement of the preferred shareholders on new terms (which have not been publicly revealed) is meaningless. They had originally been offered new high-yield bonds at 60% of the face value of their preferred stock.

RBR-TVBR observation: Is there a real reason to convene the meeting on Friday morning? Is a deal being struck which would bring Alden and the preferred shareholders to the closing table with Smulyan’s JS Acquisition? Or is it just a last gasp before the going private transaction is abandoned? We, like you, are waiting to find out.