Emmis

In a move that did not surprise many industry insiders, Emmis Communications just announced the acquisition of WBLS and Gospel sister WLIB-AM in New York from YMF Media (as in billionaire Ron Burkle) for $131 million in cash. Emmis also owns Mainstream WQHT (HOT 97) and this near monopoly is rumored to be the catalyst that may double the company’s annual station operating income. With the demise of WRKS, insiders were aware of the unspoken part of the deal where Emmis would make a bid for the Urban combo as soon as their financial footing stabilized.  The move clearly establishes Emmis as the largest footprint in the #1 radio market. One can only wonder if it’s a coincidence that WBLS moved downtown to the former WRKS studio space.

The purchase price will be paid in two installments.  The first payment of approximately $55 million will occur promptly after the initial grant of the FCC’s consent to assignment of the stations’ FCC licenses, expected in the summer of 2014.  The second payment of approximately $76 million will occur in approximately 12 months. Emmis sold WRKS for approximately $96million and WQCD for $75million so you may say they got a bargain without using a coupon!

Insiders are also speculating on some reincarnation of the return of 98.7 Kiss-FM. As always, stay tuned.

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