SAN ANTONIO, TX (CelebrityAccess) — iHeartMedia and Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings announced they plan to fully separate as part of iHeartMedia’s emergence from its ongoing restructuring process as the company clears bankruptcy.
Effective upon iHeartMedia’s emergence, William Eccleshare will become Chief Executive Officer of CCOH. Mr. Eccleshare, who currently serves as Chairman and CEO of Clear Channel International (CCI), has deep experience in creating value for advertisers across the out-of-home industry.
Eccleshare joined CCI in 2009 and went on to lead Clear Channel Outdoor, including full operational responsibility for CCI and Clear Channel Outdoor Americas (CCOA), before assuming his current role, in which he is responsible for overseeing CCI’s business operations in 22 countries across Asia, Europe, and Latin America.
Mr. Eccleshare will be based in London and will also continue to lead CCI as part of his new role.
Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings is a public subsidiary of iHeartMedia, and is one of the world’s largest outdoor advertising corporations, doing substantial business in the world of billboards. iHeartMedia currently owns 89.1% of CCOH’s outstanding common stock.
“Today’s announcement is recognition that while iHeartMedia and CCOH are both very strong in their respective areas – iHeartMedia is America’s number one audio company and CCOH is one of the world’s largest outdoor advertising companies – their key constituencies have little strategic overlap. We believe that the separation of the two businesses makes strategic and financial sense, and will allow each company to better achieve their individual missions,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman, and CEO of iHeartMedia, Inc. and current CEO of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc.
“Scott Wells will continue his successful leadership of CCOA, fostering deep relationships with advertising partners and growing the company’s offerings in exciting areas such as programmatic. With these strong leaders and CCOH’s creative, innovative and dedicated team, the future standalone company will be very well positioned for future growth and success,” Pittman added.
iHeart has been reorganizing under the supervision of a bankruptcy court since March 2018 after years of struggling with $20 billion in debt it gained as part of a leveraged buyout in 2008.
As of December, iHeart’s reorganization plan has been approved of by more than 90% of its investors and will reduce the broadcaster’s funded debt to $5.8 billion.
Earlier this month, John Malone’s Liberty Media expressed a renewed interest in taking a substantial stake in iHeartMedia, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that Liberty was keeping a ‘watchful eye’ on the reorganization. In June, Liberty backed away from a plan to invest almost $1.2bn in iHeartMedia, noting at the time that the radio giant’s financial results were below expectations.