March 15, 2008 / 2:33 AM / 11 years ago

Clear Channel says completes TV sale for $1.1 bln

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. radio operator Clear Channel Communications Inc (CCU.N) said on Friday it completed the sale of its television assets to Newport Television LLC, a company set up by Providence Equity Partners to make the acquisition, for $1.1 billion.

The deal brings to a close months of twists and turns about the deal, which looked at times as if it would falter.

Clear Channel agreed to sell the 56 television stations to Providence in April 2007 for $1.2 billion but the deal faltered amid the market turmoil and was renegotiated to a lower price.

The deal hit turmoil when Clear Channel filed a lawsuit February 15 in Delaware to force Providence to complete the deal. Providence called the suit “baseless.” To settle the dispute, Clear Channel agreed to cut its asking price by $100 million to $1.1 billion.

Another complication arose when Wachovia, one of the banks financing the deal, filed a suit in North Carolina against Newport dated February 22 to get out of the financing commitment. Newport retaliated and filed a lawsuit against Wachovia in Delaware, seeking a break-up fee and expenses unless the financing was provided.

A spokeswoman for Wachovia said on Friday that the litigation claims were dismissed as part of the new deal. She added that the bank was pleased that all parties had agreed upon the new transaction.

The TV deal is not related to the $20 billion leveraged buyout of Clear Channel, agreed last year but which is yet to close. Clear Channel, being bought by private equity firms Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners LLC.

Reporting by Megan Davies; editing by Carol Bishopric

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