Connoisseur Continues Tower-Selling Trend

Inside Radio | Story | insideradio.com

Connoisseur Media has joined the growing list of companies that have sold some or all of their radio towers. The company has struck a $4.1 million deal to sell a package of towers in Long Island; Norwalk, CT; Erie, PA; and Billings, MT; to CTI Towers. Broker Michael Bergner, who worked with the company on the deal, says Connoisseur doesn’t own any towers in the markets where it operates.

“We are not paying rent going forward, as compared to some companies that use the tower sale to effectively sell part of their company,” Connoisseur chief executive Jeff Warshaw says. He’s seen some radio groups force local clusters to begin paying large rent expenses in order to sell their towers with a big ticket price tag. In the case of one broadcaster Warshaw says in several of its markets a tower spin-off took a cluster from positive to negative broadcast cash flow because of the new tower rent expense.

Like myriad tower companies, CTI has been in growth mode to expand beyond its current portfolio of more than 600 towers. Earlier this year it secured $30 million in new debt financing to help bankroll that expansion.
Among the other companies that have sold their towers in recent years are Alpha Media, iHeartMedia and Townsquare Media. The decision to sell is helped by the multiples tower assets are getting. Warshaw says it’s not unheard of to see a deal at a 17-times multiple.

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