Smulyan extends offer to take Emmis private

Emmis Communications Corp. CEO Jeff Smulyan late Friday afternoon extended his offer to take the radio and publishing firm private until Sept. 30.

The offer, which he made Aug. 18, had been set to expire Friday.

The offer values Emmis at about $50 million. Smulyan, who owns 13 percent of the shares, has rounded up other directors and top brass to join in the buyout, which is being financed by Falcon Investment Advisors, a Boston-based private equity firm.

The offer is under review by a special committee of independent directors consisting of attorney Susan Bayh and former CBS Television CEO Peter Lund. The committee is required to make a recommendation on the proposal. The board, excluding directors who are part of the buyout group, would have to approve it before shareholders would vote.

In a letter to Bayh and Lund Friday, Smulyan wrote, "Our entire team looks forward to further discussions with the committee and its financial advisor and legal counsel to complete a mutually acceptable transaction."

Some shareholders have said they think the $4.10-per-share offer—which represents a 25 percent premium to Emmis’ average closing price over the 90 days before the deal was announced—is too low.

“I’m disappointed and I’m hurt by this offer, and I’m going to fight this with everything I have,” Tim Stabosz, a LaPorte City Council member who owns 150,000 shares, told IBJ last month. “I’m quite certain that I’m not the only stockholder that’s going to stand against this. I think there’s going to be a lot of pushback.”

This marks the third time Smulyan has proposed taking the company private in the last 10 years. A 2010 attempt was blocked at the 11th hour by a group dissident investors. Smulyan called off the 2006 deal after he couldn't reach terms with the board.

Emmis stock price on Friday closed at $4.03.

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