Former Citadel Chief To Build Stable of Midsize TV Stations
By Steve McClellan -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/27/2003 8:00:00 PM
After two decades as a radio guy, Larry Wilson, a co-founder of Citadel Communications, is going to turn on the TV. As reported earlier, he has agreed to buy Williamsport, Pa.-based Lamco Communications, a small- and mid-market operator of nine TV stations.
|Wilson's New TV Group|
|Source: Lamco Communications
|KTXE-LP||San Angelo, TX||ABC|
The price wasn't disclosed, but financial analysts put it at $125 million to $130 million, although neither buyer nor seller would confirm. (Kalil & Co. brokered the deal.)
Contacted recently at his Kalispel, Mont., ranch, not far from three of the TV stations he's about to buy, Wilson said he wants to build a TV-group owner that is "substantially bigger than this platform" in midsize markets.
Estimated annual cash flow for the Lamco stations is about $15 million. Wilson wouldn't confirm the number but said he intends to create a TV group with $50 million to $60 million cash flow "within a couple of years." BIA put Lamco's 2002 revenue at close to $33 million.
Wilson co-founded Citadel in 1984, bought out his partner in 1991 and went public in 1997. The company was sold to buy-out specialist Forstmann Little in 2001 for $2 billion (including a $500 million contribution from JP Morgan Chase). According to SEC filings, Wilson received about $50 million for his stake in the company.
So why does a radio guy want to become a TV guy? "I didn't feel I could build the mass in radio that I want," he said. "Consolidation has gone faster and farther than anybody dreamed. There's just not much left to buy."
The new company will be based in Las Vegas, where Wilson is based when not at his ranch (and where Citadel is based, too).
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