Liberty Media is exiting the radio business, selling its entire stake in iHeartMedia.
According to an iHeartMedia Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Liberty Media offloaded its 5.94 million shares of Class A common stock in an open market block trade in a sale worth upwards of $150 million. Between November 2017 and February 2018, Liberty Media purchased $600 million of iHeartMedia debt for a total of $490 million. After iHeartRadio reduced its debt load through a bankruptcy settlement, the bonds were converted into about 6.9 million shares.
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“We appreciate Liberty’s support for iHeartMedia, originally as a holder of debt which then converted into a meaningful equity stake, and we are delighted that they received a good return on their investment,” a spokesperson for iHeartMedia told Variety.
Liberty Media did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.
Headed by chairman John Malone, Liberty Media continues to hold 78% of satellite broadcaster SiriusXM and 32% of concert promoter Live Nation. The company grouped its three investments, including its previous stake in iHeartMedia, as Liberty SiriusXM Group, a tracking stock that trades on the Nasdaq.
By ending its investment in iHeartMedia, Liberty Media has exited the broadcast radio industry. The iHeartMedia platform is the largest radio broadcaster in the U.S., reaching over 90% of Americans each month through podcasts, AM and FM stations and online platforms. By using its stake in iHeartMedia in conjunction with Live Nation and Sirius XM, Liberty Media had the potential to shape how American audiences interacted with and accessed the music industry’s live and recorded offerings.
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