CBS to merge its radio business with Entercom

Talk was in the air everywhere at

Talk was in the air everywhere at"Radio Row in the Media Center in downtown Houston including Boston based talk show hosts Marc Bertrand and Scott Zolak of the"Zolak and Bertrand Show on 98.5 The Sports Hub. (Globe

CBS is around three times the size of Entercom, and CBS investors, including JPMorgan and the Vanguard mutual funds, will hold of most shares in the combined company.

The all-news KRLD-AM (1080) and sports radio "The Fan" KRLD-FM (105.3) are also part of CBS Radio as are "Jack FM" KJKK-FM (100.3), an adult hits station, KMVK-FM (107.5), a regional Mexican station, and KVIL-FM (103.7), which plays adult contemporary music.

CBS had said early previous year that it would explore strategic alternatives for its radio business.

Field, President and CEO of Entercom, who will lead the combined company, said, "These two great companies, with their impressive histories, complementary assets, and premier content and brands, are a flawless strategic and cultural fit, enabling us to deliver local connection on a national scale and drive accelerated growth".

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The surprise deal with Entercom means that CBS has scrapped plans for an IPO spinoff of its radio division, as it had been planning for months. Existing Entercom shareholders would own the remaining 28% of the combined company. According to CBS, the deal is created to be tax-free to CBS shareholders through a complex process known as a reverse Morris trust, which begins with an offer to existing CBS Corp. shareholders to exchange their stock for shares in the enlarged Entercom.

Entercom will rank as the nation's second-largest radio firm behind iHeartMedia Inc.

Entercom is the largest radio provider in the Upstate with seven radio stations, including B93.7, Magic 98.9, 93.3 The Planet, Classic Rock 101.1, ESPN Upstate, 106.3 WORD, and 96.3 The Block. In a press release issued by Entercom, the merger would create a "preeminent radio platform" of 244 stations with broadcast rights for 45 professional teams, but details concerning the two that have jockeyed for ratings in New England in recent years were scarce.