Cumulus, Cumulus Media Partners eliminated.
Entercom Communications and Citadel Broadcasting are the two leading bidders for the radio assets of the Walt Disney Company, a source very close to the situation told Billboard.biz.
Cumulus Media and offshoot Cumulus Media Partners have been eliminated from the bidding, the source said.
While Entercom’s interest in the ABC Radio unit has been widely reported, Citadel has not previously been viewed as a front-runner since Disney narrowed the field.
Owned primarily by Forstmann Little & Co., the well-known LBO firm and a longtime rival to Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts (KKR), Citadel’s ability to draw on a major pool of investment capital could be advantageous in pulling off a major acquisition such as ABC radio, which comprises 72 stations.
Citadel owns and operates more than 200 stations in markets ranked 30 to 150.
Asked about its interest in ABC, Entercom president/CEO David Field told Billboard.biz, “We’re very interested in those stations if we’re able to acquire the group under terms and conditions that would create value for our shareholders.”
Field said Entercom is interested in ABC’s radio networks as well as its station portfolio, which includes outlets in the top markets. “We’re interested in getting into the network radio business,” Field said. “The ABC Radio networks fit nicely with our core business.”
Asked why it’s taking so long for a winning bid to emerge, Field said: “There are some structural complications in the deal, none of which create a problem in getting a deal done.”
Representatives at Citadel were not immediately available for comment.