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Broadcaster Serving Blacks Plans to Buy 12 Radio Stations

March 14, 2000|From Bloomberg News

LANHAM, Maryland — Radio One Inc., the largest U.S. broadcaster serving black audiences, agreed to pay $1.3 billion for 12 stations owned by Clear Channel Communications Inc., which is becoming the No. 1 radio company.

The company will buy stations in Los Angeles, Houston, Miami and four other cities from Clear Channel and AMFM Inc., which Clear Channel is buying for $23 billion. Clear Channel is selling $4 billion in stations to win government approval of the takeover.

Radio One will own 48 stations in 19 cities after the Clear Channel purchase and two other acquisitions valued at $64 million. The company targets black listeners in large cities and suburbs.

"No one has bothered to consolidate that aspect of the business," said Victor Miller, a Bear, Stearns & Co. media analyst.

"They've almost doubled the size of the company, in terms of radio stations."

Radio One is the only publicly traded U.S. media company focused on black audiences. Its biggest rival, BET Holdings Inc., became a private company in July 1998 when founder Robert Johnson and AT&T Corp.'s Liberty Media Group bought the shares outstanding that they didn't already own. BET operates the Black Entertainment cable-television network, which targets black audiences.

Radio One shares fell $2.31 to $63.44 on Nasdaq. They rose 15% Thursday and Friday on speculation that the company, based in the Washington suburb of Lanham, Md., would acquire Clear Channel stations. The shares of San Antonio-based Clear Channel rose 13 cents to $62 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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