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Hicks Clarifies The Record

On Wednesday, I disputed BusinessWeek’s assertion that Blackstone/KKR/Providence/Hicks Holdings had “walked away from a bidding war” over Clear Channel Communications. The BusinessWeek claim originated from an interview with Tom Hicks, so I concluded by writing the following:

— I do not know why Hicks said what he said about walking away from the table, but yesterday put in a call to his PR rep to ask. No word back yet. One possibility is that Hicks Holdings left the consortium prior to Clear Channel’s final decision, but I am certain that Blackstone, KKR and Providence were involved until the moment Bain and TH Lee learned that they had won. —

I have now heard back from Hicks who, through his spokesman, says the following: “The group of which [Hicks Holdings] was a part did not ‘walk away,’ but was simply outbid. As to why it was outbid, it could have been because the [losing] group had a higher return hurdle rate than the winning bidders, or perhaps a different vision for the company… But, at the end of the day, nobody ‘walked away.’”

The BusinessWeek story remains untouched on both its main website and in a blog post titled “Tom Hicks: Why he walked away from Clear Channel.”