January 30, 2008 / 3:44 PM / 11 years ago

Bain exec mum when asked about Clear Channel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A top executive at Bain Capital, which is in the process of navigating a $20 billion buyout of radio operator Clear Channel Communications (CCU.N), made no remarks on the deal at a conference on Wednesday.

Speculation that the buyout may be in jeopardy drove the stock down on Monday and Tuesday. It recovered some ground on Wednesday, up 3 percent at $30.15 in early trading, although still significantly below the $39.20-a-share deal it struck in 2007 to be bought by private equity firms Bain and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

Such speculation about pending deals has intensified after a number of deals fell apart following the subprime crisis, which made leveraged buyouts harder to finance.

Pursued by a crowd of attendees following a panel discussion on private equity at a conference organized by Dow Jones, Bain managing director Steve Pagliuca said nothing when asked if Bain was still committed to the deal. A Bain spokesman said: “We are not going to comment on public company situations.”

During the panel discussion, the questioner, referencing Clear Channel, asked how comfortable Bain was in taking on complex deals. Pagliuca replied that Bain had “some of the best analytical people in the world” and that the company never shies away from doing complex deals.

On Monday, Anthony DiNovi, co-president of Thomas H. Lee Partners, sidestepped a question about Clear Channel and the buyout industry in a panel discussion, answering in general about his predictions for buyouts.

DiNovi was also quoted by Dow Jones on Tuesday as saying nothing should be read into his “no comments.”

Reporting by Megan Davies; Editing by Derek Caney

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