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Pa. family breaks up its media empire

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff Co. is selling its radio and cable television businesses in separate deals for nearly $2 billion in the continuing breakup of a family-owned conglomerate that had no heirs willing to take over.

The company's 33 radio stations will be sold for about $1.2 billion to a partnership of Cumulus Media Inc., one of the nation's biggest radio station operators, and Bain Capital, Blackstone Group, and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP.

Meanwhile, the nation's biggest cable system operator, Comcast Corp., will buy Susquehanna's cable TV and broadband businesses for $775 million.

The all-cash deals, disclosed yesterday, pushed Cumulus shares up $1.22, or 11 percent, to $12.16. Shares of Comcast rose 24 cents to $27.81.

York, Pa.-based Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff, in its fifth generation of family ownership, said in April that it would sell its media assets and its dishware lines, which employ nearly 3,000 people. It sold its popular dishware division to Lifetime Brands Inc. in July.

With the cable and broadcasting deals, expected to close next year, Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff will be left only with its real estate business.

Susquehanna Radio is the nation's largest privately owned radio broadcasting company.

For Atlanta-based Cumulus, the deal means gaining listeners in four of the nation's top 10 markets and expanding the number of stations it owns and operates to 343.

For Philadelphia-based Comcast, which already owned 30 percent of Susquehanna Communications, the acquisition will add 225,000 basic cable subscribers.

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