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16 March 2018, 01:13 | Gordon Grant
iHeartMedia files for bankruptcy protection in the US
The brand has almost 850 radio stations. The deal would unite iHeartMedia with Liberty's Sirius XM Holdings Inc satellite radio service.
"To implement the balance sheet restructuring contemplated by the agreement in principle, iHeartMedia and certain of its subsidiaries, including iHeartCommunications, Inc, have filed voluntary petitions for relief under chapter eleven of the US Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court".
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iHeartMedia have reportedly agreed a restructuring deal with investors which hold over $10 billion of the debt to reduce their outstanding bills by half.
IHeartMedia has drawn interest from John Malone's Liberty Media Corp, which proposed on February 26 a deal to buy a 40 percent stake in a restructured iHeartMedia for $1.16 billion.
What's interesting is that the long-time radio honcho also operates iHeartRadio's music streaming service, which hasn't been able to compete with culture mavens like Spotify and Pandora. In the weeks leading up to this filing it became a daily watch as creditors and the media visited the SEC website everyday to see if the company had reached another forbearance agreement or this pre-packaged Chapter 11 agreement.
iHeart found itself under a mountain of debt following a leveraged buyout of Clear Channel Outdoor in 2008. The more than six months long negotiations between the company and its creditors evolved into this pre-packaged Chapter 11 filing. The creditors' counteroffer sought a higher stake in the company - 94.75% - while offering the equity holders nothing. The current attempt at an accord followed at least a dozen debt revisions over the past decade. JCDecaux SA, the world's biggest outdoor-advertising agency, also has expressed interest in buying some of Clear Channel's assets.
"The LBO put this massive debt on the balance sheet that the company was supposed to grow into", a lawyer for iHeartMedia told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Marvin Isgur at a hearing in Houston on Thursday.
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