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06 Oct 2000
MOODY'S CHANGES CLEAR CHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS, INC.'S DEBT RATING (Baa3 SR.UNSEC.) OUTLOOK TO STABLE FROM POSITIVE FOLLOWING STOCK REPURCHASE ANNOUNCEMENT
New York, October 06, 2000 -- Moody,s Investors Service has changed Clear Channel Communications, Inc.'s (Baa3 senior unsecured) rating outlook to stable from positive. The rating action follows the company's announcement that its Board of Directors has authorized the repurchase of up to $1 billion of the company's stock over the next 12 months.
Moody,s had changed Clear Channel's rating outlook to positive from stable when the AMFM acquisition was announced, since the expected significant level of divestitures gave the company ample opportunity to deleverage. The company recently completed acquisitions of AMFM Inc. and SFX Entertainment via stock swaps and debt assumption. The effect of the acquisitions on the company's balance sheet was a moderate increase in leverage. This leverage was reduced somewhat by the divestitures, however, the company continued to make additional small acquisitions for cash which has resulted in leverage higher than anticipated at the time of the AMFM acquisition announcement. Despite the higher than expected current leverage (over 4 times EBITDA), the company's proforma free cashflow is expected to be significant, and so the positive outlook remained intact. However, the company's potential departure from a debt reduction priority over stock repurchases in the face of sharp declines in the company's stock price could result in maintenance of current leverage levels for the medium-term, should the full stock repurchase program be utilized. Therefore given the strong likelihood of this event, the outlook has been changed to stable.
Clear Channel Communications, Inc., with its headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, is a diversified media company with 1090 radio stations, 19 television stations and 750,000 outdoor advertising displays in 40 countries worldwide in addition to substantial equity interests in other major broadcasting and outdoor advertising companies. It also owns SFX Entertainment, Inc., which is a leading promoter, producer and venue operator for live entertainment events, as well as a marketing and management company specializing in the representation of team sports athletes and broadcasters.
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