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Clear Channel Gets New Buyout Terms

Clear Channel Communications (CCU) shareholders won't get as much as they were promised by the two firms looking to take the company private, but at least they got a deal.

Clear Channel said late Tuesday that private-equity companies Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital have agreed to a new pact with a group of banks that had initially balked at fully funding the deal, settling on a purchase price of $17.9 billion, or $36 a share. That compares to the earlier buyout price that was set at $39.20 a share.

As part of the arrangement, the six banks financing the transaction have signed definitive agreements to provide long-term financing to Clear Channel, marking a huge step toward the completion of the long-troubled acquisition. Since the deal was initially presented in December 2006, various parties have disputed the price, the sale of certain assets and financing terms.

Citigroup (C), Morgan Stanley (MS), Wachovia (WB), Deutsche Bank (DB), Credit Suisse (CS), and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) are in the bank group.

The amended merger agreement will require shareholder approval and will mandate that the board of directors of the new corporation at all times includes at least two independent directors. The board of Clear Channel has unanimously approved the new agreement and recommended that shareholders also clear the merger.

The media giant said that as an alternative to receiving $36 a share in cash, Clear Channel's shareholders will again be offered the opportunity to exchange some or all of their common stock on a one-for-one basis for shares of Class A common stock in CC Media Holdings, the new corporation sponsored by the private equity group to acquire Clear Channel.

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