Bankruptcy court OKs sale of Vermont radio stations
A Delaware bankruptcy court has approved the sale of 30 radio stations, including a dozen stations in Vermont, as part of the Nassau Broadcasting Partners bankruptcy.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross approved the sale late Wednesday of 30 New England stations to Carlisle Capital Corp. for $12.5 million.
The stations include WEXP-FM, “The Fox” in Rutland and WSNO-AM, WORK-FM and WWFY-FM in Barre.
Carlisle Capital Corp. is owned by New Hampshire businessman William Binnie.
John Gales, who manages the Barre and Rutland stations, said Wednesday it’s his understanding that Binnie’s Carlisle Capital Group will spin off a number of the Vermont stations and several others to Jeff Shapiro’s newly formed Vertical Capital Partners.
“I’ve worked with Jeff before and Jeff’s a great operator and I look forward to working with him again,” Gales said.
The sale of the Vermont stations have come full circle.
Gales said it was Shapiro’s Vox group that sold the stations to Nassau in the fall of 2004.
Under Great Eastern Radio, Shapiro already owns several New Hampshire stations, including WTSL and WGXL in Hanover and WXXK in Lebanon.
Gales said he anticipates it will be business as usual with no staff reductions as a result of the sale.
Scott Fybush, who writes Northeast Radio Watch, said prior to the court’s approval Wednesday that Binnie bought the stations at a “rock bottom” price.
Fybush said Nassau got itself into trouble when it overpaid for the stations at the height of the market.
He said it’s his understanding that Binnie will spin off 13 of the 30 stations to Shapiro.
Nassau Broadcasting Partners put its 49 stations up for sale to satisfy creditors as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding.
Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs, a major creditor, made a successful $38.7 million credit bid on 11 stations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Four other parties made successful bids for eight other stations in Maine, Massachusetts and Maryland.
That left 30 stations, including a dozen AM and FM stations in Vermont, that went unsold.
The Vermont stations (and city of license) included in Wednesday’s sale to Carlisle Capital Group are:
WORK-FM, Barre; WWFY-FM, Berlin; WWOD-FM, Hartford; WFYX-FM, Walpole (N.H); WZLF-FM, White River Junction; WXLF-FM, Bellows Falls; WEXP-FM, Brandon/Jamaica; WTHK-FM, Wilmington; WMOO-FM, Derby Center; WSNO-AM, Barre; WNHV-AM, White River Junction; WIKE-AM, Newport.
Based in Princeton, N.J., Nassau Broadcasting Partners was forced into an involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy in September by its major creditors. Goldman Sachs, Fortress Credit Opportunities and P.E. Capital LLC were owed $83.8 million.
In October, the court agreed to convert the bankruptcy to a Chapter 11 case.
As of February, Nassau owed $283.7 million, including unpaid and deferred interest, according to court documents.
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