The president of a San Diego company said yesterday that his plan to acquire EZ Communications Inc., the Fairfax-based owner of 15 commercial radio stations, has been scuttled by a last-minute demand from EZ for more money.
EZ confirmed that the acquisition, announced last week subject to approval by EZ's board and regulators, was off.
The company offered no explanation other than the failure to reach an agreement satisfactory to both sides.
John T. Lynch, president of Noble Broadcast Group Inc. of San Diego, said that he and Arthur C. Kellar, EZ's founder and chief shareholder, had reached full agreement onterms in meetings before the deal was announced.
Legal documents were to have been signed Tuesday, said Lynch, who had already chartered an airplane in order to visit his new stations.
"Over the weekend, I got inklings that Art was not pleased by some facets of the deal," Lynch said, "and what it came down to is he wanted more money."
Lynch said he raised his offer, which he said had been between $150 million and $175 million, but no agreement was reached.
Suggesting that Kellar had an emotional commitment to the company, Lynch said: "I think Art had a little seller's remorse."
Lynch said his offer remains on the table and that he was confident the deal will eventually go through.
Noble is a privately held company that owns six AM and six FM stations in various cities and has revenue of about $50 million a year.
It made its offer after EZ, a $40-million-a-year company, was forced by the October stock market collapse to cancel plans to go public.
EZ had hoped to raise about $24 million to buy more stations.