Fidelity plans to veto proposed buyout

Clear Channel Communications Inc.’s biggest shareholder, Fidelity Management & Research, plans to vote against the proposed $18.7 billion private equity buyout of the radio giant, a person familiar with Fidelity’s position said Monday.

The person told The Associated Press that the mutual fund company, which owns nearly 11 percent of outstanding Clear Channel shares, will cast a vote against the deal at a shareholder meeting set for March 21. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Fidelity hasn’t publicly commented on it’s position.

The offer of $37.60 in cash per share and the assumption of $8 billion in debt, made by an investment group led by Thomas H. Lee Partners LP and Bain Capital Partner LLC, requires two-thirds of shareholders to approve the deal. Those shareholders who fail to vote will be counted as “no” votes.

The offer for the nation’s biggest radio station operator is considered by Fidelity to be “a significant discount to the true value of the company,” said the person familiar with Fidelity’s position.

Fidelity representatives were not immediately available for comment Monday evening.

Clear Channel’s shares fell 79 cents, or 2.1 percent, Monday to close at $36.31 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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