iHeartMedia has filed a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy plan that includes reduction of its $20.8 billion debt by $10 billion. The expected filing, which comes after months of haggling with creditors, falls short of earlier proposals that would have reduced overall debt by $15 billion, and does not include a cash infusion offered by Liberty Media and SiriusXM.
Early on Thursday morning, iHeartMedia announced agreements that effectively eliminate $10 billion of its $20 billion in outstanding debt as part of a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy reorganization. iHeartMedia, America’s top radio broadcaster, says it will continue "operating the business in the ordinary course."
iHeartMedia holdings include 850 iHeartRadio stations, the iHeart streaming service, live events and 129 million social followers. The company has generated year-over-year revenue growth for the last 18 consecutive quarters, but has been burdened by the $20.8 billion in debt created when its was purchased by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital in 2008.
”The agreement we announced today is a significant accomplishment, as it allows us to definitively address the more than $20 billion in debt that has burdened our capital structure," said Bob Pittman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Achieving a capital structure that finally matches our impressive operating business will further enhance iHeartMedia’s position as America’s #1 audio company.”
While a deal is still possible, missing from today's bankruptcy filing was a cash infusion of $1.16 billion offered by Liberty Media and its partially owned SiriusXM division. Under the offer, SiriusXM and Liberty would each own 20% of a court reorganized iHeartMedia. Many analysts were surprised by the fire-sale valuation.
Instead, "iHeartMedia believes that its cash on hand together with cash generated from ongoing operations," according to a statement from the company, "will be sufficient to fund and support the business during the Chapter 11 proceedings."