Lenders to Louis Mercatanti’s various Nassau Broadcasting entities have agreed to exchange debt for equity as the company tries to move forward toward a return to profitability. It means a transfer of control that will cost grandfathered status for stations in two New England markets and a modified lender ownership structure in a third.
Nassau went into restructuring with 52 radio stations in 13 markets.
85% of the company will be going to entities of Goldman Sachs and P.E. Capital. Also retaining interest are members of Nassau management and certain equity holders.
Station overages in the Concord NH and Portland ME Arbitron markets will be addressed by spin-offs with certain stations going into trust pending resale. In Concord, the stations are WNNH-FM Henniker NH and WWHQ-FM Meredith NH. One Portland station, WHXR-FM North Windham ME is also on the way out of the cluster.
Goldman has interests in four stations in the Cape Cod market not related to Nassau; Nassau has three – WFRQ-FM, Mashpee MA, WFQR-FM, Harwich Port MA, and WPXC-FM, Hyannis MA. In that market, a separate entity made up of all of the new Nassau stakeholders will own the Nassau trio, and Goldman will not participate with them in any way.
Also separately, Goldman has an interest in WTVE-TV Reading PA, part of the Philadelphia PA DMA. Although no Nassau radio stations are part of the Philadelphia market, stations in Allentown-Easton PA and Trenton NJ are within the Nielsen DMA of Philadelphia. However, the FCC says that in both cases, there are enough independent media voices to avoid triggering cross-ownership restrictions.