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Clear Channel buyout on hold

Some shareholders believe stock is undervalued

Clear Channel Communication shareholders are likely to reject a proposed $19 billion takeover of the biggest U.S. radio broadcaster this month, according to analysts tracking the company’s stock price.

The shares fell 3 cents to $35.53 today, compared with the $37.60 a share offer from private equity firms Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners.

Shareholders vote on the purchase March 21. Fidelity Investments, the biggest shareholder at 9.7%, says it plans to vote against the deal because the price doesn’t reflect gains made by the company’s outdoor advertising unit.

There is “a high probability the buyout offer is rejected by shareholders,” said Jonathan Jacoby, an analyst at Banc of America Securities in New York.

Bain spokesman Alex Stanton declined to comment as did Matt Benson, a spokesman for Thomas H. Lee. Michele Clarke, a spokeswoman for San Antonio-based Clear Channel, said executives weren’t available to comment.

Bain and Thomas H. Lee need two-thirds of shareholders to approve the purchase under Texas law, making it easier for opponents such as Fidelity to thwart the deal. Shareholders who don’t vote will be counted as “no,” which prompted the board to send out a letter last week urging investors to vote.

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