Waiting for the green light


Bear Stearns analyst Victor Miller tells clients in a note that the trains are still running toward a closing for the private equity buyout of Clear Channel Communications. He cites the tender underway for 1.3 billion of Clear Channel bonds, that Thomas H. Lee executives have resigned from the Univision board (necessary for making the private equity fund’s Univision investment non-attributable at the FCC), that Clear Channel executives have seen the ratings agencies, that Clear Channel executives have met with the Thomas H. Lee investors, and that the Clear Channel TV sale has gotten FCC approval (although it is still up in the air whether the buyer will close. Now Miller says the application to take Clear Channel private and transfer the licenses to the proposed new owners has gotten votes of support from four of the five FCC commissioners. The lone exception is identified as Commissioner Michael Copps – no surprise, since he has expressed discomfort with private equity deals and voted no on the Clear Channel TV sale. Miller believes Copps’ vote could come in days or up to a month. Of course, even if he votes no, that would be a 4-1 tally. Also on the to-do list is filing for Department of Justice antitrust approval. The analyst says he believes Clear Channel will make that filing soon.