Reassuring the troops


Clear Channel has sent out a memo to employees about the revised buyout bid for the company, assuring them that no "significant" layoffs are planned, but spelling out the company's severance policies. A separate memo to shareholders tells them that they don't have to take shares of the new company, but will have that option if they don't want to cash out completely.

Both "Q&A" style memos state that corporate headquarters will remain in San Antonio, that the board of directors had agreed that the 39.20 per share buyout by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital was "fair and in the best interests of our shareholders," and that the members of the Mays family will continue to be actively involved in the company, with Mark continuing as CEO, Randall as President and CFO and with Lowry having "an active role."

The stake that the Mays family members will have in the new company as investors will not count against the 30% stake available to current shareholders and the memos were careful to point out that no one (most employees are shareholders as well) will be forced to take stock in the new company.

"You may make your election on a share-by-share basis," the memo to shareholders explained. As for the employees: "Again, we do not expect the merger to result in workforce reductions, and we do not want employees to experience undue anxiety. However, in the unlikely event some reductions are required during the one year period following the closing of the merger, we have developed a severance plan to assure that you will not be left without protection."

The memo then detailed that severance payments run from one month of base pay for people employed by CCU for less than six months up to nine months of base pay for those who have been with the company for three years or more.