Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Cumulus Quietly Spends $71 Million in Chicago

From Tom Taylor's NOW column. It's a little complicated, but see if you can follow along...

Merlin Media tells Cumulus it’s time to buy Chicago’s WKQX/101.1 and WLUP/97.9. The January 2, 2014 arrangement signed by Lew Dickey included an LMA that apparently worked well for Cumulus. There was also a purchase agreement, allowing Cumulus to buy alternative rock WKQX and classic rock WLUP at any time during the “call period.” That was the first three years and nine months of their deal. But during the “90 days prior to the fourth anniversary of the [January 3, 2014] Commencement Date, Merlin may elect to require” Cumulus to buy the stations. That’s called a “put.” So (from NOW’s reading of the “Put and Call Agreement” here), Cumulus chose not to pay the specified price during the past 3-3/4 years. Now Merlin, which worked with Randy Michaels to mount all-news and news/talk stations in several major markets, tells Cumulus “it’s time to buy” the pair of Class B FMs. What’s interesting is that Cumulus didn’t issue a release or have CEO Mary Berner talking about this major deal. The only footprints are at the FCC, with the filing to transfer WKQX and WLUP.