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Breaking News: Clear Channel Wooing Potential Buyers

Reported by Marie Therese - October 26, 2006 -

The finance world is abuzz with the story that Clear Channel Communications may be seeking buyers. According to the WSJ, Bloomberg and today's edition of The New York Times, "[the] Mays Family, which built Clear Channel Communications into the country’s largest network of radio stations through decades of acquisitions, is in negotiations to be taken private by a consortium of investors for more than $18.5 billion, people involved in the talks said yesterday. The investors, who have been in discussions with Clear Channel for months, include Providence Equity Partners, the Blackstone Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company ..."

"The negotiations come as family- controlled media companies across the nation explore the possibility of selling their companies or taking them private," the Times reported. "Cox Communications, the cable company based in Atlanta, went private in 2004. Cablevision, which is controlled by the Dolan family, is in the middle of negotiations to become private."

COMMENT

If you clicked on the Providence Equity link above, you undoubtedly noticed the name "Michael K. Powell" on the list of their team members.

That's the same Michael K. Powell, son of Gen. Colin Powell, who used to head the Federal Communications Commission.

It would appear that an American communications company would be owned by a private consortium of investors, many of of whom do business out of countries other than the U.S.A., e.g., London, Hong Kong (Communist China), Tokyo, Korea and Paris.

Peter Peterson, Chairman and co-founder of Blackstone Group, is highly connected in Republican circles, However, he has on occasion been critical of the Bush economic policies.

The Republicans claimed that massive federal tax cuts would boost the economy and reduce unemployment. And when the right decides to spend its way to recovery, it doesn’t get hung up on details. As Vice-President Dick Cheney remarked, "Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter". Between 2001-04 the federal budget plunged from a surplus of $100bn to a deficit of $415bn (3.6% of gross national product). This, plus the likelihood of the balance of payments deficit reaching $540bn in 2004 (5.1% of GNP), led Peter Peterson, former Secretary for Commerce under President Nixon, to conclude: "This administration and the Republican Congress have presided over the biggest, most reckless deterioration of America’s finances in history" (Source: Le Monde Diplomatique)

According to Sourcewatch:

Peter G. Peterson is Chairman and Co-founder of the Blackstone Group, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), founding Chairman of the Institute for International Economics (IIE), and founding President of the Concord Coalition. He is also Co-Chair of the Conference Board Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprises.

Peterson is a former chair/CEO of Lehman Brothers (1973-1977) and former chair/CEO of Lehman Brothers, Kuhn, Loeb (1977-1984). From 1963-1971, he was chairman/CEO of the Bell and Howell Corporation.

Peterson served as Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs (1971) under Richard M. Nixon. He was named as Secretary of Commerce by Nixon in 1972. He also assumed the chairmanship of Nixon's National Commission on Productivity and was appointed by Nixon as the U.S. Chairman of the U.S.-Soviet Commercial Commission.

He also serves on the boards of directors at Sirius Satellite Radio. He formerly served on the boards of the Sony Corporation, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M), General Foods Corporation, RCA, The Continental Group, and Cities Service.

Peterson is Trustee at the Committee for Economic Development, the Japan Society, and at the Museum of Modern Art, and is a Director of the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Public Agenda Foundation, and for The Nixon Center.

In the past week President George W. Bush met twice with conservative radio talk show hosts - many of whom are carried on Clear Channel - as part of his efforts to bolster support among the Republican base.