Venture Vultures Eying Entercom Takeover

The Field family has a lot to worry about.

Entercom has become the target of takeover thinking.

Weakened, unable to deliver shareholder value before the coronavirus and economic uncertainty, Entercom took the unnerving step of swallowing a so-called “poison pill” to buy them some degree of protection for the next year.

As it turns out, the “poison pill” dressed up as a “shareholders rights plan” isn’t going to be enough protection against the Fields losing control of the company.

There is a more disruptive way the Fields will lose control of Entercom even after they digested the “poison pill”.

And stopping it is getting to be near impossible.

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Saga’s Startling Layoff Count

We know that Bob Pittman was laying thousands off at iHeart before he had the coronavirus to blame.

And David Field has been canning people from the moment he bought CBS Radio – remember the $110 million cost synergy pledge he made to lenders.

And that Cumulus has been nuking their staff before, during and after bankruptcy – they didn’t need a virus to blame it on.

Beasley did it, Univision flush with half a billion in cash is doing it.

But what about Saga, the company with the least debt and the highest stock price?

All this becomes more critical to look at to see what a profitable radio company is planning to do.

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Deeper Radio Layoffs Within 30-60 Days

I have a candidate for Radio Ink’s “Executive of the Year”.

Univision CEO Vince Sadusky who is flush with cash and firing like a fool.

It’s hard to beat last year’s “executive of the year” stinker for chutzpah -- Bob Pittman who in the first quarter killed well over 1,000 jobs – and that’s before the Coronavirus.   He laid off, fired or furloughed hundreds more beyond that. 

Radio groups are crying pour mouth because their debt is too high and ad revenue has dried up.  Whose fault is that?

Their employees, of course.

The virus firings that every group except two are getting in on are a gift from heaven for them but if you think the worst is over, you haven’t heard about the next deep cuts at iHeart, Entercom and Cumulus under the cover of a recession.

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A New Cumulus CEO May Already Be in the House

I’ve learned about what is going on in the bowels of Cumulus – their inner workings, their odd board of directors representing lenders who were burned.

This we know.

Mary Berner just got a two-year contract extension – but the details are revealing.

There is something else more telling because of the soap opera known as Cumulus Media.

Her replacement may already be waiting in the wings already working in the company and the insiders know who it is.

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Radio Revenue Trending Down as Much as 65%

Some radio groups will not survive.

Even though radio ad revenue had been eroding gradually for the past few years, no one could see this precipitous drop coming.

Some groups will do better, but not that much better because the coronavirus and ensuing economic recession has ripped into the fundamentals of the radio industry.

Layoffs, firings and furloughs will be as commonplace as social distancing.

This tsunami is not temporary and the changes it will trigger will upend the radio industry’s biggest groups.

Radio has been running with lean staffs pointing out the challenges debt-heavy groups like iHeart, Entercom and Cumulus now face.

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