CBS Radio and Entercom Communications announced plans to merge by the second half of the year, becoming a media giant made up of almost 250 stations.
This deal comes months after CBS announced that it would sell or spin off its radio business in 2017, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal. Existing Entercom shareholders would own the remaining 28% of the combined company.
"This agreement is great for shareholders and achieves our previously stated objectives by separating our radio business in the best possible way", said Leslie Moonves, chairman and CEO of CBS. CBS shopped the division around to prospective suitors but eventually settled on plans to divest through a spinoff as a stand-alone public entity.
Entercom CEO David Field will run the combined company.
After a relatively quiet period in the second half of 2016, the radio merger and acquisition scene is rumbling back to life with the merger between CBS Radio and Entercom.
Call letters won't change as a result of the tax-free merger, the release said, and the move awaits approval from Entercom shareholders.
The final pricetag on the deal for CBS is unclear, but the Eye intends to use the proceeds to buy back CBS Corp. shares.
The combined companies will be the #2 USA radio station group with 244 stations in most big-city markets bringing $1.7 billion a year.
For comparison, iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel Radio) owns a total of around 850 stations in 150 markets across the country, while Cumulus owns around 450 stations across 90 markets.
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