Terrestrial Radio: The Comeback Kid?

Clear Channel's Big Deal
The nation's largest radio broadcaster could be the largest media and entertainment sale in history. And if the deal doesn't go through, it's still a big deal. A big deal for shareholders, because if the buyout doesn't happen, the company is likely to be broken up (splitting the radio and outdoor advertising business) or we'll see a stock buyback.

Clear Channel's pending $26 billion takeover offer is gaining increaing opposition, and now it could gain support for the deal by delaying its shareholder vote past its currently scheduled March 21 date. The sale to private equity houses Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital would be the largest buyout in history. Now some of the biggest players in the business, including Fidelity Investments, plan to vote against the deal, saying it undervalues their shares (even though it's a 25% premium over its 30-day trading average before it went up for sale), and the buyers won't raise their bid. Now the theory is that delaying the vote would give investors more inclined to supporting the deal, a chance to cast their ballot. Shareholders who don't vote are counted as voting against the deal.

The deal is considered an indicator of the future of the buyout market. And the future of the radio and outdoor advertising company hangs in the balance. We'll be keeping an eye on what this means for investors moving forward.

Wal-Mart Tunes into High Def Radio
Speaking of radio, this week Wal-Mart started stocking digital radios, a JVC in-dash car stereo that receives HD Radio broadcasts. Selling the gadgets for $190 at nearly 2,000 of Wal-Mart's 3,331 U.S. stores were HD radio broadcasts are available. And the receivers are also available at RadioShack and Circuit City . These retailers, and the companies that have come together to create a high def radio industry trade group, including Clear Channel , CBS Radio and Disney's ABC Radio are hopeful that this new high-tech offering will rev up the basically no-growth traditional radio industry.

A New Kind of Avon Lady
Avon Products just signed Jennifer Hudson, who won the Oscar for best supporting actress, to be the exclusive spokesperson for its Imari fragrance brand, which has been Avon's best-selling fragrance since it launched two decades ago. What a meteoric rise for the American Idol reject, Hudson's even made it to the cover of Vogue Magazine. She's making her Avon lady debut at an event that targets women's rights issues, 'Global Summit for a Better Tomorrow." Avon is one of the biggest beauty companies - it's annual revenue topping $8 billion. And the fact that over five million people (you can guess what percent of them are women) work as independent sales reps shows that it has been a true pioneer for women's issues. Now it's taking on the cookie cutter stick-thin models...

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