Carlyle Group finances TV consolidation
posted Friday January 04, 2002 @03:00AM
Frank Washington, the CEO of System Integrators Inc. until the Sacramento newspaper-software company was sold in June 2000, heads a new company these days called Moon Shot Communications. And his new goal is to make a lot of money in the next several years by buying TV stations across the country, waiting for their value to increase, and then selling them to the highest bidders.
Washington and four partners are working with investors and the Carlyle Group of Washington, D.C., a major private-equity firm, to line up stations they might buy. They figure they can assemble groups of TV stations for good deals now, by purchasing TV stations owned mostly by small companies outside large U.S. markets. Washington counts on the sellers not seeing the same potential in their properties that he does.
Washington believes the stations will command higher prices if the Federal Communications Commission loosens rules limiting the number of broadcast TV stations a media company can own in the same market -- a change he expects to happen over the next few years.
The change would uncork a consolidation-driven buying frenzy like the one that began in radio 10 years ago. By buying now and selling later, Moon Shot would try to pocket some fat capital gains.
The potential buyers once the rule changes, he says, include radio, cable, newspaper and other media companies. Eventually, he predicts, a handful of companies will probably own all the TV stations across the country.