Succumbing to protests that its bid was too low, Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan withdrew an offer to take the radio company private. Smulyan – who already owns 17% of Emmis’ equity -- had proposed buying out public investor for $15.50 per share, valuing the company at $1 billion. That was a premium to the company’s recent trading price, but 25% less than the company’s shares fetched in January.
After weeks of talks, a committee of independent directors formally told him earlier this week that the offer was inadequate. Wall Street executives estimate that Smulyan would have to raise his bid to around $19 per share to secure approval. To do that, however, Smulyan would need to bring in other investors and probably share control. Today, he owns supervoting stock giving him 67% of shareholder votes, so he doesn’t have to share control on most issues.