Merlin Media is now an owner


Merlin Media has already been LMAing three FMs from Emmis in New York and Chicago, so nothing is likely to change on the air. However, the station licenses in the $198 million deal have now transferred to Merlin.

As scheduled, the closing went off without a hitch on Thursday (9/1). Emmis isn’t out of the picture, though. It continues to hold a minority stake in Merlin, whose principal investor is GCTR, a Chicago-based private equity firm. Merlin is headed by Randy Michaels.

Emmis received approximately $120 million in cash proceeds from the sale of the stations, net of transaction expenses, and continues to own $28.7 million of preferred equity and 20.6% of the common equity interests in Merlin Media. Emmis said the net cash proceeds were used to repay approximately 38% of the company’s term loans under its senior credit facility.  

“While it is difficult to part with these stations, we are pleased to remain involved as an investor in Merlin Media.  The proceeds of the sale allow us to significantly de-lever the company and evaluate a variety of exciting opportunities for the next era of growth at Emmis,” said Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan.