CHICAGO, IL – June 21st, 2011 – GTCR, a leading private equity firm, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to partner with Emmis Communications (NasdaqGS: EMMS) and Randy Michaels to form Merlin Media LLC (“Merlin Media”) for the purpose of acquiring and operating media assets.
Merlin Media has signed definitive documentation with Emmis Communications to purchase WKQX-FM (101.1 MHz, Chicago, IL), WLUP-FM (97.9 MHz, Chicago, IL) and WRXP-FM (101.9 MHz, New York, NY). Closing of this transaction is pending regulatory approvals.
“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to partner with Emmis and Randy,” said Philip A. Canfield, Principal at GTCR. “Emmis’s CEO, Jeff Smulyan, and Randy Michaels are both proven veterans of the media industry and we look forward to working with them to provide valuable media content to Merlin Media’s future consumers.”
“We believe this transaction will create significant value for our shareholders” noted Jeff Smulyan. “Emmis Communications looks forward to continuing to provide valuable and enjoyable content to our listenership audiences in the Chicago and New York markets.”
Latham & Watkins LLP served as legal counsel and PriceWaterhouseCoopers served as accounting advisor to GTCR. GTCR’s investment in Radio Newco will be made from GTCR Fund X, a private equity fund with $3.25 billion of committed capital.