NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Ryan Seacrest's $300 million private equity score may act more like a new funding round for debt-laden Clear Channel (CCMO) than an investment in new media ventures run by the America Idol host.
That's because Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital -- both big financial backers of the broadcaster -- are funding the deal to bring in mega-profitable Searcrest productions like "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" that can act as a savior for the long suffering Clear Channel investors.
|Can Ryan Seacrest Save Clear Channel?|
At the height of the credit boom, THL and Bain Capital spent $17.9 billion to buy Clear Channel, which has a 89% ownership of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings (CCO - Get Report), in a deal that's since yielded billions in losses. With a partial ownership in Ryan Seacrest Productions and the $300 million it has to invest, Clear Channel and its private equity owners may be hoping that Seacrest can instruct high returning media investments and help the company fix its finances by 2014, when a daunting $4 billion in debt comes due.
In a January 30 report, Moody's Investor Service said that Clear Channel has $16.5 billion in debt coming due by 2016, the largest debt stock of any company with a rating of B3 or lower