Clear Channel parties reach deal in principle- source

NEW YORK Tue May 13, 2008 3:44pm EDT

NEW YORK May 13 (Reuters) - The parties in the dispute over financing the $20 billion Clear Channel Communications Inc (CCU.N) buyout on Tuesday reached an agreement in principle on settling the case and striking a new deal at a lower price of $36 a share, a source familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.

A deal is still to be finalized, the source cautioned, but an announcement could come this afternoon, the source said.

Clear Channel struck the deal to be bought by private equity firms Thomas H. Lee Partners [THL.UL] and Bain Capital at the peak of the private equity boom last year for $39.20 a share. The market has changed drastically since then, with the cost of financing leveraged loans skyrocketing.

The deal descended into litigation this year when THL and Bain filed complaints in New York and Texas against six Wall Street banks -- Citigroup Inc (C.N), Morgan Stanley (MS.N), Credit Suisse Group (CSGN.VX), Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS.L), Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE) and Wachovia Corp WB.N -- to enforce their agreement to fund the buyout.

A trial, set to begin on Monday in New York State Court, was delayed until Tuesday morning and then adjorned until 2pm (1800 GMT) Tuesday. Trial testimony began this afternoon, with an employee of Bain Capital undergoing questioning (Reporting by Megan Davies, additional reporting by Leslie Gevirtz; editing by John Wallace, Phil Berlowitz)

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