Though Clear Channel may possibly be shopping itself around, the Mays family that runs the company sits quite pretty. Should the company be sold and Lowry and his two boys be asked to leave, their golden parachutes call for tens of millions of dollars in stock and cash payments each: even the taxes on that income will be paid for by the company.
There is some evidence that Clear Channel has begun quietly selling off selected properties, specifically involving “support businesses” and clusters of radio stations in smaller markets. This would make sense as the company cleans up its books to position itself in the best light for potential suitors to either take it private or buy it up to sell off piecemeal.
Clear Channel is both best-known and most-hated for its radio business; will a restructured Clear Channel remain so radio-centric? It is heavily invested in the industry’s favorite (and flawed) digital radio technology; will whatever comes out the far side of this speculation continue that commitment?
Interestingly enough, one of the financiers mentioned as a player in any future deal, Providence Equity Partners, is the new employer of former FCC Chairman Mikey Powell. Another leveraged buyout specialist also interested in a piece of any Clear Channel action is the Carlyle Group, where Powell’s Democratic predecessor, William Kennard, now moves dough.