October 13, 2016 Last Updated 4:43 pm

Emmis sells Texas Monthly for $25M; Terre Haute radio stations sold off

Sales of the Indiana radio stations, and now of its regional magazine, is part of an effort by the company to go private, while avoiding going too deeply into debt

Emmis Communications executive Jeff Smulyan announced in August that he wanted to take the company private, a move that it has attempted before. But to do so, and therefore avoid plunging the company into a debt it cannot handle, it would need to sell off certain assets, including its entire portfolio of city/regional magazines.

TexasPW-featureThe first official sale announced, however, was for the sale of its Terre Haute radio stations: WTHI-FM 99.9 FM, WWVR-FM 105.5 The River, WFNB-FM B92.7, and WFNF-AM 1130AM/99.5FM The Fan.

The sale will be divided into three transactions, with the assets of WTHI-FM and the intellectual property of WWVR-FM sold off to Midwest Communications, Inc. for $4.3 million; and the assets of WFNF-AM, WFNB-FM and WWVR (other than the IP for that station) for $0.9 million to DLC Media, Inc. A final transaction involves Midwest selling its station, WDKE-FM, to DLC Media because of FCC ownership limits.

Got all that?

Well, the big news, though, may have been broken by Keith Kelly of the NY Post who this afternoon says he has heard that Emmis is selling Texas Monthly to the Hobby family, which once owned the now shuttered Houston Post.

Again, all these sales are due to the effort to take the company private, with management making a proposal to acquire the outstanding publicly held shares of the company for $4.10 per share in cash. The company’s stock is trading today at around $3.95 per share.

Update: Emmis Communications has released a statement this afternoon confirming the sale of the Texas Monthly:

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – October 13, 2016 — Emmis Communications Corporation today announced the signing of an agreement to sell the assets of Texas Monthly to an affiliate of Genesis Park, LP, a partnership founded by Paul Hobby, for $25 million, subject to working capital adjustments.

The nationally recognized authority on life in the state of TexasTexas Monthly has won 13 National Magazine Awards and has chronicled life in contemporary Texas since 1973.

Genesis Park is a regional private equity firm that has built successful communications and technology businesses in Texas for many years. Examples include CapRock Services, Alpheus Communications and Vivante GMP.

Paul Hobby, a Founding Partner of Genesis Park said: “We are honored to be the third steward of this beloved Texas brand. Our plan is to bring new ideas, strategic relationships and thoughtful investment that help to take this great story forward. We are also pleased to affiliate with Jack Martin in this endeavor given his long record of anticipating important trends in media and public communication.”

Texas Monthly has been a member of the Emmis family for 18 years, so today is bittersweet,” said Jeff Smulyan, Chairman & CEO of Emmis. “We want to thank all of our employees for their dedication and hard work.

“This transaction allows us not only to de-lever our balance sheet, but puts TM in the capable hands of one of Texas’ great families, the Hobbys,” Smulyan concluded.

On August 18, the Company announced that it was exploring strategic alternatives for its publishing division, excluding Indianapolis Monthly magazine.  The Company also announced it was exploring strategic alternatives for its Terre Haute radio stations and WLIB-AM in New York.

Emmis has owned Texas Monthly since 1998.  The transaction is expected to close in early November.

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