Nassau Broadcasting

Nassau Broadcasting  (Website)  owns or operates approximately 56 radio stations in the United States (16 AM and 40 FM), mostly located in small radio markets in New England.  The company is located in Princeton, New Jersey    

History

Nassau Broadcasting was founded in 1986 by Louis F. Mercatanti, when he acquired local stations WHWH-AM and WPST-FM in Princeton/Trenton, New Jersey. 

In 2000, the company filed documents to “go public” with an IPO, but withrew the request on August 20, 2000. [SEC filing] because of “unfavorable market conditions”.   The S1 registration statement [here] contains 251 pages of exhaustive details about the company as of 2000.

In 2004, Nassau acquired a number of additional stations using funds from Private Equity funds and a loan from Goldman Sachs..   Nassau’s business plan is based on creating and running “Clusters” of stations in smaller markets to be an efficient radio operation.  Nassau employs about 300 full and part time employees.

In 2006, Nassau acquired WCRB [Press Release], a classical music station, which they intended to use as a base for a regional network of commercial classical music stations. [That was brave!].  Nassau created W-Bach in Maine, consisting of WBQI, WBQQ and WBQW..  

2009 events

On May 8th, 2009,Nassau Broadcasting relinquished control to Goldman Sachs, the holder of its credit facility after failing to meet the terms of his loan obligations.  Goldman will acquire 85% ownership of the company, but Mr Mercatnati will continue to operate the company.

Because this change of control changes the effective owner of the company to Goldman, local ownership limits will require several of Nassau’s grandfathered stations to be sold, as well as creating ownership conflicts for Goldman, which also has interests in other stations in the areas   [Story]

Major Stations – top 25 markets

Boston:

  • WCRB-FM (Classical)

Ownership

Nassau Broadcasting is not a publicly traded company, so financial information about the company is largely private.    The company has an entire hierarchy of corporate ownership, making it even more unclear who owned how much of what.

Prior to the debt settlement with Goldman, the company was owned by: (per FCC reports)

 Financial Condition as of 2008

Because the company is privately held, there are no SEC financial reports, which are typically the easiest way to find out about a companies finances.

In 2004, Nassau obtained an $80 million from Goldman Sachs to buy 12 stations in one purchase. [Press Release] and acquired a total of 32 stations for $48 million in the entire year of 2004. [New England Radio Watch]

Key Balance Sheet Items: (2008)

Not known.

Profitability

Not known, however the failure of the company suggests it was not profitable.

Net Profit/(Loss)

Unknown – company is privately held.   The 2000 SEC S1 filing mentions taking a $13 million impairment charge after buying a station and then selling it at a loss – forcing a writeoff of the “goodwill”.

Mr. Mercatanti describes the situation with his company that he bought up a bunch of radio stations at exactly the wrong time, and it was a big mistake.

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