A little over a year after Randy Michaels launched his radio ownership group Merlin Media, is the company already looking to get out of the business? Time Out Chicago's Robert Feder reports that GTCR, the private equity firm that teamed with Michaels to form Merlin, is "actively seeking buyers for all of Merlin Media's properties." Investment banking company Moelis & Company, which worked with GTCR to acquire its stations in the first place, is assisting in shopping the stations.
One source told Feder that "Everything is in kind of a holding pattern to try to show cash flow so they can get the most out of it."
Merlin debuted in July of last year, acquiring three stations from Emmis and famously flipping Modern Rockers WKQX/Chicago and WRXP/New York to FM News/Talk. Earlier this year, Emmis put Modern Rock back on the FM dial in the Windy City (on a new frequency at 87.7 FM), then flipped its News WIQI back to music as Adult Hits. At the same time, it flipped its New York station back to Modern Rock. Merlin also owns Classic Rock WLUP/Chicago and Talk WWIQ/Philadelphia.
Earlier this week, ChicagoRadioAndMedia reported that Merlin had laid off seven employees, the majority of whom worked in news writing/editing capacities.