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Emmis sells Slovakian radio network for $21 million

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Emmis Communications Corp. has sold a national radio network in Slovakia to Germany-based Bauer Media Group for $21 million, the Indianapolis-based media company disclosed Wednesday in a regulatory filing.

Emmis said it will use $18 million of the proceeds from the sale of its 98-percent ownership interest in Radio Expres to reduce debt.

The remaining proceeds will be used to help pay costs for Emmis' ongoing legal fight with Hungary before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

Emmis is part of a group suing Hungary for political interference in awarding radio licenses.

With the sale of Radio Expres, which Emmis acquired in 2005 for $14 million, the company no longer owns any radio stations outside the United States. Its holdings include 19 FM stations and three AM stations.

"Over the last eight years, the Radio Expres team in Slovakia took this business to new heights by every measurable metric, consistently beating its competitors in the market," Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan said in a prepared statement. "Despite its strong performance, from a resource and strategic standpoint, it no longer made sense for us to own a lone radio station internationally. Our focus going forward will be in the U.S."

Shares in Emmis closed Wednesday at $1.59 each, down a penny. The stock has fallen 19.2 percent since the start of the year.

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