Clear Channel’s Prospects Wane

NEW YORK The chances that Clear Channel shareholders will agree to the $19 billion buyout offer from private equity firms Bain Capital Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners continue to dim.

Institutional Shareholders Services, the most influential proxy advisor to hedge, mutual and other fund managers, Thursday recommended shareholders reject the $37.60 per share offer, characterizing the offer as a “very modest premium.”

ISS joins a growing list of shareholders that oppose the deal since it was announced in November. Stakeholders, including Glass Lewis & Co., Fidelity and Highfields Capital Management, which combined hold about 15 percent of shares, believe there are other ways Clear Channel can sweeten the deal for shareholders, such as selling off more assets, including the lucrative outdoor company. Clear Channel is currently in the process of selling more than 400 of its smaller radio stations and the TV group.

The company needs two-thirds shareholder approval for the deal to go through. Shares not voted count as “no.”

To give the company more time to gather support for the buyout from new stockholders, Clear Channel recently moved the deadline for the vote on the deal from March 21 to April 19.