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Radio Play : Shamrock Will Acquire Marlite’s 9 Stations

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Investor Roy E. Disney on Thursday agreed to buy the radio operations of Marlite Communications Group in a stock swap valued at more than $300 million. The nine-station deal will make his Shamrock Broadcasting one of the largest radio station owners in the nation.

The acquisition of the Cleveland-based company, which requires regulatory approval, will give Shamrock 21 radio stations, including local country stations KZLA-FM and KLAC-AM. Also part of the deal is the popular New York station WHTZ-FM.

For the record:

12:00 AM, Mar. 13, 1993 For the Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday March 13, 1993 Home Edition Business Part D Page 2 Column 4 Financial Desk 1 inches; 31 words Type of Material: Correction
Malrite Communications--A story in Friday’s editions misspelled the name of Malrite Communications Group, a Cleveland-based company whose radio operations are being acquired by Shamrock Broadcasting of Burbank.

Acquiring those stations will put Burbank-based Shamrock for the first time in the Los Angeles radio market, the nation’s largest, and New York, the second largest.

In buying Marlite, Shamrock is taking advantage of more liberal Federal Communications Commission rules allowing companies to buy as many as four stations in a single market. Indeed, Shamrock will own the maximum number of stations allowed in San Francisco, the nation’s fourth-largest radio market, after the Marlite deal is completed.

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“We can now take more bites from the desirable apples,” said Bill Clark, Shamrock Broadcasting president.

Owning multiple radio stations in the same city has also become increasingly attractive because overhead costs can be trimmed by combining such functions as accounting, advertising and management. As a result, radio station owners such as Shamrock can be expected to acquire more stations in the markets they already serve.

“We will look to double up in any market in which we have a station, except San Francisco,” said Stanley P. Gold, president of Shamrock Holdings, parent of Shamrock Broadcasting.

Ted Hepburn, a radio broker in Palm Beach, Fla., called the acquisition a unique opportunity because it is rare that a group of stations in major cities becomes available.

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Shamrock officials said they believe that the company will now rank in the top five radio station owners. They declined to provide revenue figures, but sources said that with the acquisition Shamrock’s annual revenue from radio stations probably will be about $150 million.

Marlite is a private company owned by longtime broadcasting executive Milton Maltz. Marlite has been burdened by debt and is said to have been under pressure recently from its banks and bondholders. Maltz could not be reached for comment, but he said in a statement that owning radio operations over a wide range of major markets is the best strategy with the new federal rules.

Financing of the deal will come principally from Trefoil Capital Investors, an investment fund formed by Shamrock Holdings. As part of the deal, Maltz will become a minor investor in Shamrock Broadcasting, and he will retain his company’s television operations. Shamrock will move its television stations into a new unit apart from its radio operations.

Shamrock Holdings is the investment arm for the family of Roy E. Disney, nephew of the late Walt Disney. Roy Disney also is a major stockholder in the Burbank-based Walt Disney Co. and serves as vice chairman.

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Shamrock’s ventures over the years have included the profitable acquisition and sale of such companies as the Central Soya soybean operation in Indiana and the Music Plus music and video chain.


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