CBS RadioCBS Corp. has unveiled plans to merge its radio division with Entercom, creating a broadcast platform with 244 stations and national reach across major markets.

This long-rumored deal with Entercom means that CBS had scrapped plans for an IPO spinoff of its radio division, as it had been planning for months. The complex merger that will make Entercom the second-largest radio company behind iHeartMedia and leave CBS shareholders with 72% of the enlarged Entercom is said to have come together in the past few weeks.

entercom-squarelogo“This agreement is great for shareholders and achieves our previously stated objectives by separating our radio business in the best possible way,” said Les Moonves, Chairman & CEO of CBS. “Entercom is a superbly run company, and together with CBS Radio’s powerful brands and remarkable people, we are creating an organization that will be even better positioned to succeed in this rapidly evolving media landscape.”

David J. Field, Entercom President and CEO remarked, “This transformational transaction creates scale-driven efficiencies and opportunities to compete more effectively with other media to better serve our listeners and our advertisers. The combination of a compelling strategic fit, an excellent balance sheet, and robust free cash flow generation, position us to create significant shareholder value for our investors.” Field will remain CEO of the combined company. CBS Radio President and CEO Andre Fernandez is expected to exit after the deal closes, which CBS estimated would be in the second quarter.

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