Emmis Privatization Offer Off The Table


Emmis Communications Chairman/CEO Jeff Smulyan‘s plan to take his company private officially lapsed on Friday.

The decision by Smulyan effectively puts an end to an effort announced Aug. 18 that would have seen the purchase of all outstanding EMMS shares at $4.10, pending shareholder approval following the acceptance of the plan by a special committee comprised of Peter Lund and Susan Bayh.

Smulyan tells RBR + TVBR, “We just could not reach an agreement with the special committee.”

A formal Proposal Expiration Letter was sent to Bayh, the wife of Evan Bayh, a Democratic politician from the state of Indiana who has been that state’s governor and a U.S. Senator; and Lund, a former CBS Inc. Chairman/CEO.

In an official Securities and Exchange Commission filing made after market close on Friday, Smulyan “intends to review continuously” his investment in Emmis, along with its business affairs, capital needs, and “general industry and economic conditions.” This review could lead to renewed discussions regarding a privatization effort.

Smulyan could not offer further comment to RBR + TVBR when asked if such discussions could come again within months, or a few years down the road.

The failure to take Emmis private is the third for the company; similar efforts were attempted in 2006 and 2010. EMMS shares went public in 1994.

While the proposal stated that the offer price represents premiums of approximately 25% over the 90-day volume weighted average closing price, Emmis stock has closed below $4.10 in every trading session since Sept. 15 — thus diminishing the chances that the proposal would pass muster with Bayh and Lund and be taken to shareholders for a vote.

With Emmis now moving forward as a leaner public company, the focus turns to the divestment of WLIB-AM 1190 in New York and publications such as Los Angeles and Atlanta magazines.

RBR + TVBR RELATED READ: Emmis Takes ‘A Step Back’ From Q1 Progress