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Ryan Seacrest and Clear Channel deepen business relationship

February 01, 2012|By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times

Ryan Seacrest and his radio show partner Clear Channel Communications Inc. are taking their relationship to the next level.

Private equity funds controlled by Clear Channel's majority owners, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital, have committed up to $300 million to acquire and develop properties with Ryan Seacrest Media, the producer and television and radio personality's holding company.

Furthermore, Clear Channel itself has taken an undisclosed minority stake in Ryan Seacrest Productions.

"We aim to build Ryan Seacrest Media into a leading multimedia company with diversified assets and interests," Seacrest said in a statement.

Seacrest is the host of a popular morning radio show that airs on Clear Channel stations and Fox's "American Idol." His production company makes several shows, including the cable channel E!'s "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" and ABC's "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution."

This is Seacrest's second big business move in two weeks. Last month, he partnered with entrepreneur Mark Cuban and entertainment giant AEG on a new cable channel called AXS that will launch this year and focus primarily on covering the entertainment and music industries.

For Clear Channel, the investment in Ryan Seacrest Productions allows the radio giant to stay in business with the ubiquitous Seacrest even if the radio show eventually goes away. Seacrest has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Matt Lauer when the latter's contract is up on NBC's morning show "Today." Such a gig would probably require Seacrest to either move his radio show to afternoons or scrap it.

"Ryan is an unmatched creative talent with success across more media platforms and involvement with a greater variety of programming and venues than anyone else in the industry," said Bob Pittman, chief executive of Clear Channel parent company CC Media Holdings Inc.

Clear Channel has been making moves lately to reposition itself as more than a radio company. Last month, Pittman hired veteran entertainment industry executive John Sykes to lead Clear Channel, which operates 850 radio stations, into television, digital platforms and live entertainment.

joe.flint@latimes.com

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