Biz Briefs

Oct 20, 2003  •  Post A Comment

The months-long ownership fight for television and newspaper owner Freedom Communications came to a close last week when the company announced it had reached a definitive agreement with a group of private equity firms that will keep the Irvine, Calif.-based company independent and intact. The agreement calls for private equity giants Blackstone Group and Providence Equity Partners to buy out the stakes held by descendants of Freedom founder R.C. Hoiles, who have been pushing for months to monetize their holdings in the company. Investment bank JPMorgan Chase will provide a debt facility in support of the recapitalization. No other financial terms were disclosed by the company, which owns eight television stations and 27 newspapers, including the Orange County (Calif.) Register, and whose value has been pegged at $2 billion. When the deal is completed, control of the company will be retained by the Hoiles family plus Blackstone and Providence.
Time Warner drops `AOL’ from Name
Media giant AOL Time Warner changed its name last Thursday to Time Warner and adopted the stock ticker symbol TWX to reflect the change. The company first revealed its intentions to drop the “AOL” from its name in August, amid widespread acknowledgement in the media industry that the merger of AOL and Time Warner has fallen far short of expectations. As part of the change, the company’s Web site address became TimeWarner.com. The unit that has been known as Time Warner Inc. will change its name to Historic TW Inc.
DirecTV Announces Quarterly Results
DirecTV executives said last week they are confident that by the end of the year they will obtain regulatory approval for their merger with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., despite what they called a “momentary delay” in the process. The delay, which involves the Federal Communications Commission’s effort to coordinate its review of the $6.6 billion merger with the U.S. Department of Justice, was described as “routine” by executives during a conference call to discuss third-quarter results. That news came as DirecTV parent Hughes Electronics reported a widened third-quarter loss, hurt by an accounting charge that offset subscriber growth at the DirecTV unit during the period.