Paxson Fires Its Two Investment Banks, No Longer Exploring Strategic Options

Mar 11, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Paxson Communications on Friday said that it fired its two financial advisers after they failed to come up with a strategic transaction that the broadcaster deemed satisfactory. The company also said that it was no longer exploring strategic alternatives to help pay down debt.

The company’s decision to terminate Bear, Stearns & Co. and Citigroup Global Markets as advisers sent its shares tumbling Friday, as Wall Street digested the reality that Paxson, which has struggled under a huge debt load and weak ratings at its television network, is facing limited options. At one point Friday, Paxson shares were off more than 11 percent.

Paxson said that while it will consider offers presented to it, the company’s main focus will now be to improve the company’s core business operations and to pursue refinancing alternatives. The company said it was also considering selling noncore assets in order to boost liquidity.

The two banks were hired in 2002 to explore either selling off assets or the entire company, but the banks haven’t been able to strike a deal.

With more than 60 television stations, Paxson officials have asserted that their company would be an attractive acquisition target to any company looking to boost its presence in the United States. However, many analysts have challenged that assertion, noting many of Paxson properties are low-power stations in small markets.

The termination of Bear Stearns and Citigroup comes just weeks after the company laid off staff to help manage costs.