(Reuters) - Radio broadcaster Cumulus Media Inc (CMLS.O) is set to buy content producer Dial Global Inc DIAL.PK for about $260 million in cash, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The deal, if completed, would pit Cumulus against larger players such as Clear Channel Communications Inc's CCMOL.UL Premiere Networks and Walt Disney Co's (DIS.N) ESPN Radio.
To finance the acquisition, Cumulus, the second largest operator of radio stations in the United States, is selling 53 radio stations in 12 small markets to Townsquare Media LLC for $238 million cash, the paper reported.
New York-based Dial Global is one of the largest producers and distributors of radio programming, including talk shows and sporting events such as nationwide coverage for the U.S. Open, and the National Football League among others.
Now Cumulus plans to redouble its efforts to create original, branded entertainment that it can distribute on the airwaves and beyond, the paper said, citing people familiar with the company's strategy.
The people told the Journal that the deal is expected to close before the end of the year and that a part of the $260 million would be used to pay off Dial's debt.
Cumulus Media and Dial Global were not available for comment outside usual business hours.
(Reporting by Krithika Krishnamurthy in Bangalore)