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Buyout of Clear Channel For $20 Billion In Jeopardy

Talks over the $20 billion leveraged buyout of U.S. radio operator Clear Channel Communicationsare in trouble, with the banks financing the deal unwilling to take a mark-to-market loss, a source familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.

Clear Channel's headquarters in San Antonio.
Eric Gay
Clear Channel's headquarters in San Antonio.

But the final resolution is unclear, with the buyers still wanting to do a deal, the source said.

Clear Channel last year struck a deal to be bought by private equity firms Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners for $39.20 a share. The stock has traded significantly lower than that in recent months on fears the deal could also be in jeopardy.

Shares of the radio station owner plunged 19 percent in after-market trading.

The banks that agreed to finance the deal include Citigroup , Morgan Stanley , Deutsche Bank,Credit Suisse, RBS and Wachovia .

"No one want to do this deal except for the seller," one person involved told the Wall Street Journal, which first reported problems with the talks.

A number of private equity deals have collapsed or been renegotiated because the credit crisis has made banks reluctant to lend.

Clear Channel agreed nearly a year ago to be bought for about $39.20 a share, or about $19.45 billion, after the buyers agreed to allow shareholders to continue owning a stake in the company even after it goes private.

The deal would allow up to 30 percent of the new company to be owned by current shareholders if the deal gets approval from two-thirds of them.

- CNBC contributed to this report.

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