Equity Broadcasting to be Acquired

Apr 10, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Equity Broadcasting, a station group that operates 132 television stations serving largely Spanish-language markets, said Monday that it has agreed to merge with Coconut Palm Acquisition in a $205 million deal, plus the assumption of $62 million in debt.

As part of the deal, which is expected to close June 15, Coconut Palm with merge with Equity Broadcasting. The combined company will be renamed Equity Media Group and plans to issue stock on the NASDAQ Stock Market.

Coconut Palm will pay Equity Broadcasting shareholders $153.7 million in stock, plus $25 million in cash to Univision Communications to pay down part of the Spanish-language broadcaster’s preferred stock interest. Coconut Palm will also pay $11.7 million in nonvoting preferred stock, which Univision will hold. What’s more, a television station valued at around $15 million will be transferred to Univision at the close of the transaction.

Little Rock, Ark.-based Equity Broadcasting operates 132 television stations, with 26 full-power stations, 37 class A stations and 69 low-power stations, operating in 33 markets. The company has 22 stations affiliated with Univision.

Coconut Palm, meanwhile, is a special-purpose-acquisition vehicle, an entity set up specifically to acquire companies.

After the merger, the new company will continue to be based in Little Rock, and Larry Morton, currently Equity Broadcasting’s president and CEO, will retain the same title in the new company. Other top executives will be a combination of people from Equity Broadcasting and Coconut Palm.

In connection with the merger, Equity Broadcasting also announced that it extended the terms of its affiliation agreement with Univision for 15 years in the markets where it already runs Univision stations. In addition, Equity Broadcasting reached an agreement to bring the Univision affiliation to three more stations.