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Sandton Capital Acquires Free-Lance Star Assets

93.3 WFLS 96.9 The Rock WWUZ 99.3 The Vibe WVBX Free-Lance Star Sandton Capital Partners FredericksburgUpdate 5/22: Sandton Capital Partners has acquired the holdings of the Free-Lance Star Publishing Company out of bankruptcy court for $30.2 million.

Sandton had purchased a loan last summer that made them the primary creditor of the company, owed $38 million. Free-Lance Star owns Country 93.3 WFLS, Classic Rock “96.9 The Rock” WWUZ, Rhythmic CHR “99.3 The Vibe” WVBX, and Talk/Sports 1350 WNTX/96.5 W243BS in addition to the Free-Lance Star newspaper, Fredericksburg.com, a printing company, and real estate in the Fredericksburg market.

Fredericksburg.com reports that Sandton hopes to close on the assets of the company by June 20. No word if the investment firm intends to retain all of the assets or spin any off.

Original Report 3/7: The assets of the Free-Lance Star Publishing Company will be auctioned off on May 15 as part of the company’s bankruptcy proceedings.

Amongst the holdings of the Fredericksburg, VA company are a cluster of stations in the market: Country 93.3 WFLS, Classic Rock “96.9 The Rock” WWUZ, Rhythmic CHR “99.3 The Vibe” WVBX, and Talk/Sports 1350 WNTX/96.5 W243BS as well as print, online, and real estate in the area. The Free-Lance Star’s Fredericksburg.com reported that 20 parties have already signed non-disclosure agreements expressing interest in the assets.

Interested parties have until May 9 to submit a bid, according to the timeline set forth Thursday. The auction will be held May 15, and a sale hearing is expected May 22.

The assets are expected to be sold officially by June 20, followed by a second closing to sort out transfer legalities with the Federal Communications Commission.

Earlier this week VARTV.com reported that 96.5 W243BS dropped its Eclectic “Fred-FM” format that launched last April to once again simulcast WNTX.

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Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

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