Entercom Strikes a Deal to Buy CBS Radio
CBS president Les Moonves said past year that the company was looking for a buyer for its radio division, as it the radio industry continued to struggle with weak advertising sales.
Entercom and CBS Radio, respective parent companies of WEEI and 98.5 The Sports Hub, announced a merger Thursday.
WEEI and The Sports Hub have long battled for ratings supremacy, with on-air personalities at each station regularly taking swipes at their counterparts. The complex merger agreement that will leave CBS shareholders with 72% of the enlarged Entercom is said to have come together in the past few weeks.
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The transaction will be executed through a so-called reverse Morris Trust, whereby CBS shareholders will have the option of receiving shares in CBS Radio, which they would then trade for shares in the merged company. The company will have stations in 23 of the top 25 markets including CBS' powerhouse news and sports outlets in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. A new board, headed by Entercom president and CEO David Field, will comprise five Entercom representatives and four from CBS Radio.
On the nation level, CBS owns 117 radio stations while Entercome owns 127. The sale also includes the CBS Sports Radio Network operation's 300 station affiliates around the country. If given the OK, the new entity would become the second-largest radio station owner in the USA, based on combined revenue in 2016.
The combined companies' pro forma revenue on a trailing 12 months was approximately $1.7 billion.
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