Clear Channel's ( CCU) first-quarter results fell short of Wall Street's estimates, and the company declined to provide an outlook due to the pending buyout deal. The San Antonio-based radio broadcaster and outdoor advertising company said it had a first-quarter profit of $799.6 million, or $1.61 a share, up from $102.2 million, or 21 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding items, Clear Channel said it had adjusted earnings of $94.2 million, or 19 cents a share, essentially flat from a year ago. Revenue rose to $1.56 billion, an increase of 4% from a year earlier. Excluding the effects of foreign exchange, revenue was up 1% to $1.51 billion. Analysts expected the company to earn 21 cents a share on revenue of $1.53 billion, according to Thomson Reuters. Clear Channel was off 4 cents, or 0.1%, to $29.80. "We continued to execute on our strategic plan during first quarter in the face of a challenging macroeconomic climate," said CEO Mark Mays in a release. "We believe our concerted investment strategy will position our businesses for growth over the long-term." Clear Channel also addressed its pending $19 billion privatization deal, which has been stuck in litigation after the six financing banks tried to wriggle their way out of the agreement. Clear Channel said its shareholders approved the adoption of the merger deal with a group led by private-equity companies Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners on Sept. 25. At odds over the credit agreement are Citigroup ( C), Morgan Stanley ( MS), Wachovia ( WB), Credit Suisse ( CS), Deutsche Bank ( DB) and the Royal Bank of Scotland ( RBS).
The deal has been on a roller-coaster ride since it was signed in December 2006, with various parties disputing the price, the sale of certain assets and financing arrangements. In the latest chapter of the ongoing drama, the two private-equity firms trying to take the media company private rejected a bid by the financing banks for arbitration. Clear Channel said a trial date is currently set for June 2. It can't estimate a closing date and isn't certain that will even occur. As such, the company decided not to provide guidance for the second quarter or the full year.