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Citadel, Cumulus in merger talks

KGO-AM and KSFO may soon be part of the same company that owns KNBR, KFOG and KSAN.

CNBC, The Wall Street Journal and other publications say that Citadel Broadcasting Corp. is in talks to sell itself to Cumulus Media in a deal valued at $2.4 million. One of the hedge funds that owns a lot of Citadel stock is pressuring CEO Farid Suleman to tie up a deal with Cumulus, which made an offer for Citadel last fall.

Cumulus owns 350 stations in 65 markets including sports talk KNBR 680, adult alternative KFOX and classic rock KSAN. Citadel owns the former ABC Radio O&Os including news/talk KGO-AM, conservative talk KSFO. Citadel also owns the old ABC Radio networks, using the ABC Radio News brand in an agreement struck when Disney spun off the Citadel stations.

Citadel filed for Chapter 11 protection in December 2009 due to heavy debt and plummeting advertising revenue. It emerged in June under the ownership of its lenders led by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., but with much of its top leadership intact, including Suleman.

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