Radio-Chain Clear Channel Buying Concert Promoter SFX

Latest major media merger said to be valued at $4.4 billion.

The trend in massive media and entertainment consolidation continued on Tuesday (Feb. 29) with the announcement that radio behemoth Clear Channel Communications is buying concert giant SFX Entertainment in a deal valued at $4.4 billion.

The two companies intend to use Clear Channel's radio stations, as well as outdoor billboards owned by the company, to promote SFX-sponsored concerts and other events, they said in a joint statement issued Tuesday.

"This transaction allows Clear Channel, through SFX, to gain immediate leadership in the highly attractive live entertainment segment while taking advantage of the natural relationship between radio and live music events," Clear Channel CEO Lowry Mays said in a statement.

Clear Channel owns or operates nearly 900 radio stations and 19 television stations across the United States, while SFX controls 120 U.S. performance venues.

"In the ever-expanding world of media and entertainment, the combination of distribution and content is becoming increasingly important," SFX chairman Robert F.X. Sillerman said.

The two companies also plan to work together on as-yet-unspecified Internet music ventures, according to Mays. In August, Clear Channel said the company planned to invest $15 million in Web company Tunes.com, which operates Rollingstone.com. Tunes.com was later purchased by the downloadable-music company EMusic.com, in December.

In the first two months of this year, a number of important media mergers have been announced, most significantly America Online's plan to buy Time Warner. Warner Music (Madonna, Kid Rock) later announced its plans to consolidate with EMI (Beastie Boys, Spice Girls).

The Clear Channel–SFX deal is expected to be completed by late summer.