Entercom Communications Corp. (ETM:US), the U.S.'s fourth-biggest radio broadcaster by sales, agreed to buy 15 stations in four markets from CBS Corp. (CBS:US) for $262 million in cash, expanding into new markets and buying competitors in others.
Entercom will enter markets in Austin, Texas and Cincinnati and expand its presence in Memphis, Tennessee and Rochester, New York, Entercom said in a statement on its Web site today. Entercom, based in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, also said it will buy a Boston station from Radio One Inc. (ROIA:US) for $30 million in cash.
Entercom already operates in 20 regions across the U.S. The Memphis and Rochester stations will help Entercom consolidate its operations there, said David J. Field, Entercom's chief executive officer, in a conference call today from Philadelphia.
The deals in Austin and Cincinnati give Entercom new footholds in large markets with few stations, Field said.
Stephen F. Fisher, the company's chief financial officer, said the acquisitions also bring tax benefits and will not cut into profits. ``You can expect no impact on our dividend policy going forward,'' he said in the call.
Radio One's WILD-FM transmission facilities in Boston will be used by Entercom's WAAF-FM to strengthen its signal downtown, Entercom said.
Operations began in Boston today and will occur in most of the other markets in early October, Entercom said. Two of the four Rochester stations will be sold to comply with federal regulations, it said. Entercom declined to identify the stations.
In Rochester, Entercom agreed to buy WRMM-FM, WCMF-FM, WPXY- FM, and WZNE-FM. In Austin, the stations are KKMJ-FM, KAMX-FM, KXBT-FM, and KJCE-AM. In Cincinnati, it will buy WUBE-FM, WKRQ-FM, WGRR-FM, and WAQZ-FM, while in Memphis it takes control of WMC-FM, WMFS-FM, and WMC-AM.
CBS said in May that it might sell some of its 179 radio stations in less-profitable markets.
Entercom shares fell 3 cents to $24.45 at 4:18 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. CBS shares rose 19 cents to $27.71.
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