Clear Channel Plans Spin-Off to 'Unlock Shareholder Value'

03 May 2005

San Antonio, Texas-headquartered media group Clear Channel Communications is planning an initial public offering of its billboard advertising and concert units.

This is ostensibly to "unlock shareholder value" - although some observers see it as a way of bolstering its core radio business, which has for some time been hemorrhaging both audience share and advertising revenues.

Claims ceo Mark Mays: "We are seeking to unlock the considerable value in our company, and create a strong foundation for future growth, by improving the strategic, operational and financial flexibility in each of our leading business units."

The group's new-found interest in releasing dollars for its stockholders coincides with a 59% dive in Q1 profits, which sank year-on-year to $47.9 million (€37.08m; £25.05m) from $116.5m.

Total revenue fell to $1.88bn from $1.97bn a year ago. Radio advertising sales fell by 7% to $773.6m and live entertainment sales fell 17% to $424.5m.

Bucking the southward trend, however, outdoor advertising sales rose by 11% to $579m. The outdoor division, with operations in the US, Europe, South America, Asia and Australia, is the world's largest

Clear Channel stock has fallen by about 26% over the last twelve months, reflecting its failure to halt the loss of advertising to the internet and listeners to satellite radio and digital music players.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff