Cox Radio Stations To Be Acquired By Apollo’s New Cox Media Group

Cox Media GroupApollo Global Management’s acquisition of Cox Media Group has been filed with the FCC.

Apollo will pay $500 million for the 57 radio stations and CoxReps, Gaumt, and Cox’s Washington, D.C. news bureau operations.

In the filing with the FCC the buyer states it intends to make the following improvements to Cox’s properties:

  • improving the stations’ physical plant, including studio, back office and
    transmission equipment;
  • capitalizing on the quality news reporting from Cox’s Washington News Bureau,
    which will be available to the combined group of stations after the closing. Cox’s
    Washington News Bureau has a fully-staffed team that covers stories of national
    interest as well as matters out of Washington that are of particular interest to
    individual station markets;
  • growing each station’s digital presence in its local market through improvements
    in station websites and applications.

CHR “Power 95.3” WPYO Maitland/Orlando and Alternative “97X” 97.1 WSUN Holiday/Tampa FL will enter divestiture trusts led by MVP Capital’s Elliot Evers. Evers is also the trustee for Cumulus Media’s divestiture trusts.

Original Report 6/26: The Apollo Global Management led group that is acquiring Cox Media Group’s television properties will add Cox’s radio portfolio and CoxReps and Gaumt businesses to the acquisition.

Apollo had announced in February that it would purchase Cox’s thirteen television stations as well as the company’s Dayton OH radio and newspaper properties. The revised deal adds Cox’s 57 radio stations in Athens GA, Atlanta, Houston, Jacksonville, Long Island, Orlando, San Antonio, Tampa, and Tulsa to the new company.

However, due to the loss of grandfathered ownership limits the company will place CHR “Power 95.3” WPYO Maitland/Orlando and Alternative “97X” 97.1 WSUN Holiday/Tampa FL in divestiture trusts.

Instead of operating as Terrier Media, the Apollo group will now retain the Cox Media Group name to the newly formed company that will also include the television assets of Northwest Television and will be led by the existing Cox Media Group management team.

Cox Enterprises, Inc. today announced that it has reached an agreement to sell Cox Media Group’s Radio station portfolio as well as its CoxReps and Gamut national advertising businesses to a new broadcasting company that is substantially owned by private equity funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, LLC. The transaction will expand the new company, which announced in February its purchase of Cox Media Group’s broadcast television group and the company’s Radio, Newspaper and Television properties in Ohio.

Cox Enterprises will maintain a minority stake in the new company, which will maintain the name “Cox Media Group” and will be headquartered in Atlanta, Ga.

Cox Media Group operates more than 60 radio stations across 11 markets, reaching 14 million listeners monthly. CoxReps is the country’s largest national television rep company for local broadcast television. Gamut offers market leading, customized and localized digital advertising and OTT solutions to clients on a national scale.

The buyer plans to maintain the successful operating structure of Cox Media Group’s Television, Radio, CoxReps and Gamut businesses and leverage these assets to continue building a national media company with station properties in key markets across the country.

“We are happy our Cox Radio and national ad platforms will continue to be operated with our television group,” said Alex Taylor, president and CEO, Cox Enterprises. “Keeping these media businesses together gives us even more confidence in the future success of the new company. We have spent many years fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation across these businesses and are pleased to see that work will continue.”

“We are thrilled to acquire the Cox Radio station portfolio, CoxReps and Gamut and combine them with the Cox Television business to form a new media company focused on quality local broadcasting,” said David Sambur, Chairman of the buyer and Senior Partner of Apollo. “Cox has deep roots in the media industry and has stood for the highest quality in local journalism for the past 120 years. As we shepherd these businesses into the future, we are committed to investing in high quality programming and fostering innovation in local media.”

The transaction is subject to customary regulatory review and closing conditions. Radio stations currently owned by Cox Media Group are set forth below. To comply with FCC ownership limits, the buyer intends to divest two FM stations, one each in Orlando and Tampa.

Eversheds Sutherland LLP and Covington & Burling LLP served as the legal advisors to Cox Enterprises in the transaction.

RBC Capital Markets LLC, Guggenheim Securities, LLC and LionTree Advisors, LLC served as the financial advisors and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Cooley LLP served as the legal advisors to the buyer in this transaction.

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  1. Rick Rose says

    Does this open up EMF entering Tampa and Orlando

    1. Eric Jon Magnuson says

      I was thinking about that, too. However, there are enough similar outlets in both markets that it’s possible that EMF doesn’t think it’d be worth its while. Either way, EMF has almost certainly crunched the numbers already.

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