Alpha Media balloons with new stations as it sheds its unmarketed towers to Vertical Bridge

In Daily News Briefs by Wireless Estimator

Alpha Media states that it is the third largest radio broadcast company in the U.S. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon and formed by veteran radio executive, Larry Wilson, in 2009, Alpha Media owns and operates over 250 radio stations within 53 markets across the United States covering

Alpha Media states that it is the 4th largest broadcast company in the country in both station count and market count, operating 251 radio stations within 53 markets.

Tower owner Vertical Bridge has announced that it has acquired close to 200 towers from Alpha Media, although no financial terms of the transaction were disclosed in a press announcement.

The portfolio consists of 113 new sites, many with AM arrays accounting for the additional 87 towers announced in the deal.

The acquisition, according to Wireless Estimator’s Tower Owners List, puts Vertical Bridge’s U.S. tower count at 3,198, elevating them as the country’s fifth largest tower owner; and the nation’s largest privately owned consolidator.

Alpha Media has been on a buying binge and in 2015 brought a number of broadcasting stations from Access 1 Communicati6ons Corp., Coast Radio Group, Free Lance-Star License, Inc., Wilks Broadcast Group, Adelante Media Group, Morris Communications, JMJ Broadcasting Company, Inc., Glen Barnett, Inc. and R&R Radio Corporation for over $25 million, according to Wikipedia.

On Feb. 25, 2016, Alpha Media announced that they had closed an agreement to acquire Digity Broadcasting’s 116 stations. The transaction was valued at $264 million.

The Vertical Bridge/Alpha Media agreement occurred last week with the Digity deal, according to an individual knowledgeable about the transaction, assisting Alpha Media to finance the Digity buy.

“We are thrilled to partner with Larry Wilson and Alpha Media, which owns and operates an admirable portfolio of assets in prime locations across top markets,” said Alex Gellman, Chief Executive Officer of Vertical Bridge. “It would be challenging to site these towers today, and we feel fortunate to expand our portfolio into these areas and further strengthen Vertical Bridge’s offering to our partners. Since these towers have not yet been marketed to wireless carriers, they offer attractive new collocation opportunities. Our broadcast partners will also benefit from the height of these towers as they will provide good relocation options relative to the 600MHz auction repacking process.”

Alpha Media Chairman, Larry Wilson said in a statement that his organization could not have done the deal “without the hard work and determination from the great team at Vertical Bridge. We’re proud to call them a partner of the Alpha Media family.”

Robert Paige, Vertical Bridge’s Senior Vice President of Mergers and Acquisition, a panelist at a NATE conference on the future of the wireless industry, said that U.S. Cellular’s approximately 4,000 towers would be the next major acquisition of any scale if the carrier decided to sell its assets.

Digital Bridge, the holding company for Vertical Bridge, according to Bloomberg Business, is reportedly looking to acquire Etihad Etisalat Co.’s portfolio of towers in Saudi Arabia for approximately $2 billion.