By Carol Ozemhoya
Byron Allen continues to expand the multi-media empire that has made him one of the richest Black men in America today, reports Afro Tech.
It’s being reported that Tegna is a multi-media company that owns more than 64 radio and television stations that span across more than 50 markets across the United States. Allen, who already owns the Weather Channel, also already owns 33 affiliate television stations. He is reportedly in negotiations with Oaktree Capital Management, Fortress Investment Group and Ares Management to close the deal.
While Allen continues to amass an unprecedented wealth level, he also has incurred some debt. It’s being reported that the Weather Channel incurred what they called a “huge debt load” due to the pandemic. TV advertisers dried up and decreased their ad spends significantly. So, it remains unclear why he is incurring additional debt with Tegna. That said, the proposed deal is an advantageous one for Allen Media Group.
According to the deal, Allen and his co-investors are proposing to take on most of the company’s debt in exchange for a significant stake in the company. However, as part of the deal, Allen will retain most of the control over the outlets and their content. But according to the New York Post, Allen isn’t the only entity bidding for Tegna. Allen is reportedly up against Soo Kim, the CEO of Standard General hedge fund, who also is the majority shareholder of the Bally’s casino empire.
Additionally, there were some questions raised about Allen’s compensation package, which he took even after the Weather Channel took a significant financial hit. “Allen made some lenders skittish after an audit they conducted this summer showed he’d drawn a hefty compensation package from his company, which had recent annual revenue of around $600 million, even as business was declining, sources said. Allen paid himself a total compensation package of $50 million in 2020,” the Post reported.