Jeff Smulyan insists Alden agreed to revised buyout deal (audio)



As the parties prepare for a likely court battle, Alden Global Capital is claiming it never agreed to fund a revised buyout of Emmis Communications as the financial partner to Emmis founder and CEO Jeff Smulyan. In an interview with RBR-TVBR, Smulyan said “that’s an absolute fabrication” and Alden was “integrally involved” in the negotiations before walking away from the deal.

Smulyan tried once before to take Emmis private – at $15.25 per share in 2006. Now that his second attempt – at $2.40 per share – has also failed, we of course asked if there will be a third try. Smulyan was non-committal, but said “never say never.” In the meantime, he intends to keep running Emmis as a public company – and notes how business has been improving.

In his interview with RBR-TVBR Executive Editor Jack Messmer, Smulyan revealed that Alden had begun raising “bizarre” issues during the buyout process. “I guess we should have known,” he said of the unexpected departure of his financial partner. By comparison, dealing with the dissident preferred shareholders group, which had been the first roadblock to completing the going private transactions, was straightforward, Smulyan said.