IHeart Investor Global Media Looks to Buy Nearly Half of Company

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The second-largest investor in IHeart Media Inc. is seeking approval to boost its stake to nearly 50%, increasing its bet on the biggest owner of radio stations in U.S.

Global Media & Entertainment Investments Ltd., an investment firm run by British businessman Michael Tabor, has already acquired an 8.7% stake in IHeart. It said in a regulatory filing Monday that it had applied to the Federal Communications Commission for advance approval to increase its IHeart holdings to as much as 49.99%.

Michael Tabor is the father of Ashley Tabor-King, the founder and president of London-based radio-station owner Global Media & Entertainment Ltd.

Global Media said it had discussed its plans with IHeart’s counsel after it disclosed a 5% stake in the company in February, according to a March 12 letter sent by Global Media’s lawyer to Albert Shuldiner, chief of the FCC’s audio division. During a Feb. 5 phone call, Global Media’s lawyer informed IHeart’s counsel of its plans and said any further stock acquisition wouldn’t be hostile in nature, the letter reads.

Global Media said it recognized that IHeart had adopted a poison pill on May 5, 2020, that prevented any shareholder of owning 10% of the company without permission from the board. But it said that shouldn’t prevent the company for proceeding with an FCC request to allow Global Media to increase its stake to 49.99%.

In light of this, Global Media said it was proceeding with the request itself, which it said is fully compliant with the FCC’s foreign-ownership rules and stated policy goals of “providing for the free transferability of the publicly traded stock of a company like IHeart and promoting increasing cross-border investment in media companies.”

In an emailed statement, an IHeart spokesperson said the company “will comply with all FCC foreign-ownership regulations, including those related to the Global Media & Entertainment investment.”

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