Cyrus Capital Partners says its $250 million offer to acquire the bulk of Ion Media Networks is still on the table, though Ion does not seem to be interested in the deal.
Cyrus is a Chicago-based hedge fund and a creditor to Ion, which entered bankruptcy protection in May. The firm offered $250 million last week for a 62.5% ownership stake in Ion; another creditor had previously made a $150 million bid.
The broadcaster’s refusal prompted a letter from Cyrus Capital co-investor Jonathan Jackson, who issued the missive to all Ion board members earlier this week. An African-American, Jackson is pushing for greater minority ownership in broadcasting, and said the Cyrus bid would’ve enabled Ion to climb out of bankruptcy.
“All things being equal, we offered more money,” he says.
Ion did not offer a comment on the Cyrus bid or Jackson’s letter.
The letter read:
I was a party to last week’s offer by Cyrus Capital to finance ION Networks prompt exit from bankruptcy, an offer the Board summarily rejected within hours without further discussion or consideration. This begs the question, in whose interest was the Board acting?
Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to discuss the Board’s cavalier decision with government and community leaders who share my deep concern about the unacceptable state of minority ownership of broadcast assets in this country. They too expressed shock and outrage with your decision and with the Board’s thin justification for its actions.
Jackson, son of activist Jesse Jackson, said the board told him a deal with Cyrus would’ve been delayed by the FCC, which wasn’t in the creditors’ best interest. He’d not gotten a response to his letter as of today.
Last week, a United States Bankruptcy Court in New York approved Ion's Chapter 11 reorganization plan. "Today's ruling by the Court in favor of Ion on all issues necessary for confirmation of our Plan is a major milestone," Ion Chairman/CEO Brandon Burgess said in a statement. "This sets the stage for allowing Ion's emergence from Chapter 11 as a competitive debt-free company with access to growth funding.”
Jackson says he sees Ion as an undervalued asset, and would use his platform as a minority owner to better educate and inform the public.