Triton Media Group buys Excelsior in surprise deal


Triton Media Group, expanding its position as a supplier of digital products and services to the media industry, announced the purchase of Excelsior Radio Networks and its subsidiaries from Lincolnshire Management. Terms were not disclosed. Triton is a portfolio company of a fund invested by Oaktree Capital Management, the 51 billion dollar private equity capital fund out of LA. In radio, Oaktree has investments in Liberman Broadcasting, GAP and GAP West and also has a substantial bond position in Interep. Andy Salter led the Oaktree team on this deal.

Spencer Brown will continue as CEO of Excelsior, and David Landau and Ken Williams will remain as co-CEO/Presidents of Dial Global. They’ve all signed long-term contracts and will be managing partners of Dial-Global. All three will participate on Triton’s board, along with Neal Schore, President and CEO of Triton, and Mike Agovino, Triton’s COO.  Billy Freund and Dominick Milano will continue to serve as Triton’s EVP/Western Region and EVP/Eastern Region, respectively. All current Excelsior management and employees will also continue in their respective roles.

All of the principal participants have reinvested in the new entity, with Landau and Schore being the largest individual shareholders in the new company.
On the advertising side, the Triton Digital Suite will be put out on a barter platform. Triton, Excelsior’s MJI Interactive and RDG (Radio Data Group) will form one of the largest network radio and digital media ad platforms in the US. 

RBR/TVBR observation: Sources tell us Excelsior was not for sale at the time, but the proposal, vision of the future and money offered was "too compelling." We heard the deal went for 100 million plus. Lincolnshire will still be a stakeholder as well. It’s getting pretty obvious that the Landau, Schore, Agovino, Brown and Williams team are becoming the go-to guys for deals in the network radio-digital media hybrid space. Remember, Internet advertising is the #3 billing category in network radio so far in 2007. Oaktree, Google and eBay are gravitating to the network radio business largely because they’re realizing it is a powerful mechanism to drive audience to websites. And don’t rule out spot radio as well. With Agovino’s experience in the rep business, including a stint at Interep, it might be interesting to see what happens there, even though there have been strained relations in the past between Oaktree and Interep management over the direction of the company.