Five years after it struck a $75 million deal to sell a prime piece of real estate in Bethesda, Maryland to a group of developers, Cumulus Media has finally cinched the deal.
The 75-acre parcel of land that’s been home to the WMAL Washington (630) transmitter and tower for decades fetched $74.1 million, including $5 million paid in 2019. After fees and expenses, the company expects to net $71.3 million from the sale, which it’s required to use to pay down debt – unless it reinvests the money into the company’s business over the next 12 months.
The Toll Brothers’ plans for the suburban Washington site ran into opposition from community organizations, who repeatedly appealed any approvals the developers received.
“Given the difficult operating environment, our ability to continue to strengthen our balance sheet with the proceeds of this deal is particularly meaningful, and we greatly appreciate the efforts of Toll Brothers in working with us to bring this five-year effort to completion,” CEO Mary Berner said in a statement Thursday.
Cumulus has repeatedly said it will use the proceeds to pay down debt as it looks to reduce leverage to 4.0-times. Berner’s debt reduction plan has seen the company sell off “non-core” stations in New York, Washington, Atlanta, San Jose and other markets. In February, Berner said Cumulus is “considering strategic alternatives” for the Cumulus tower portfolio, which includes more than 250 sites across 32 states.
The company says the Maryland land sale will also produce “minor expense savings” by eliminating real estate taxes after the closing and that it doesn’t expect to incur any tax liability from the deal.