Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Air America Radio up for sale

OCT. 31 4:30 P.M. ET Air America Radio is talking to several parties about a possible sale and is hopeful of reaching a deal before Thanksgiving, a lawyer for the liberal talk radio network told a bankruptcy hearing Tuesday.

Tracy Klestadt told the court that the privately-held company was in discussions with seven different parties about a sale and was "very hopeful" of reaching a deal by Nov. 22, saying there was a "significant amount of interest."

Klestadt declined to say who the potential suitors for the company were, and a spokeswoman for Air America also declined to comment.

Klestadt was speaking at a hearing at U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, during which the court approved an agreement for financing for the company through the end of the year.

Air America is continuing to operate with financing from an investor group led by RealNetworks Inc. CEO Robert Glaser, who owns 36.7 percent of the company, and two other former board members.

Under the agreement finalized Tuesday, the company needs to have a deal in place with a buyer and have filed a motion with the court by Nov. 22 seeking approval of the sale to guarantee that financing continue beyond that date.

This was an expected move, even prior to Air America's bankruptcy filing. Nova M Radio founder Sheldon Drobny, also a co-founder of Air America, offered $2.5 million dollars to take over the company and its outstanding debt. Former Jacor and Clear Channel executive Randy Michaels, whose Product First (P1) company syndicates the Ed Schultz Show, has also reportedly made an offer. Both potential suitors were turned down by Air America management.

In addition, both satellite radio services, Sirius and XM, have been rumored as possible suitors.


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