Clear Channel plans to raise $1 billion

Wants 40% of Grupu Acir Communications

NEW YORK — Clear Channel Communications Inc. announced plans Friday to raise $1 billion through offerings of additional stock and convertible debt, as well as an agreement to take a 40% stake in a leading Mexican radio broadcaster.

In its filings with the Securities & Exchange Commission, San Antonio-based Clear Channel began clearing the way to issue $500 million in senior convertible notes and 5.5 million additional shares of common stock. Proceeds will be used to pay back borrowings under the company’s credit facility.

A spokesman said precise features of the convertible notes, due April 1, 2003, have yet to be determined. Clear Channel stock, which trades under the symbol CCU on the New York Stock Exchange, rose $4.56 Friday to $95.69. At this closing price, the proposed equity offering would raise $526.3 million.

Clear Channel’s agreement to buy and subscribe for a minority stake in Mexico City-based Grupo Acir Communicaciones was valued at $57.5 million in cash. Grupo Acir, founded 33 years ago, owns and operates 164 radio stations in 72 Mexican cities. Its reach extends to 75% of Mexico’s population of 92 million and its national audience share hovers around 34%. In Mexico City, Grupo Acir’s seven radio stations command a combined audience share of 12%.

In the United States, Clear Channel already has 29% stake in Heftel Broadcasting Corp., the country’s largest Spanish-language radio broadcaster. Including pending transactions, Clear Channel also owns or programs 184 radio and 18 TV stations and has 88,000 outdoor advertising displays. In addition to established operations abroad in Australia, China, the Czech Republic and New Zealand, the company has an acquisition pending with London-based More Group, the consummation of which would yield an additional 99,000 display faces in 22 countries.

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