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Country Radio Giant iHeartMedia Files for Bankruptcy

18 March 2018, 01:57 | Melanie Burgess

Largest US radio company iHeartMedia files for bankruptcy


iHeartRadio owner iHeartMedia Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

"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.

The company has 850 stations total and said in bankruptcy papers that it believes it has enough cash on hand to fund continued operations through the Chapter 11 reorganization process.

A statement from the company reveals that iHeartRadio has accumulated more than $20 billion in debt, but has now reached an agreement with its creditors to restructure around half of that debt, about $10 billion.

Bob Pittman, chairman and CEO of iHeart, writes: "We have transformed a traditional broadcast radio company into a true 21st century multi-platform, data-driven, digitally-focused media and entertainment powerhouse". The talk station features local as well as national programming, and it airs Fairbanks City Council meetings on Monday nights. iHeartMedia also owns six radio stations in Anchorage.

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Clear Channel Communications, which was founded in San Antonio, has become a household name.

iHeartMedia reportedly racked up $20 billion worth of debt and has suffered from falling revenue over the company's 858 radio stations.

IHeartMedia Inc. said its billboard subsidiary, Clear Channel Outdoor, isn't part of the bankruptcy proceedings.

Goldberg said in an email to The Star that "iHeartMedia and all our stations are operating business as usual, and our listeners and fans won't notice any difference in the programming, on-air personalities and stations they love". For years, the company has been saddled with $20 billion in debt, the legacy of a leveraged buyout in 2008. "There's no reason to file for bankruptcy until you have to... but we're at that point". As negotiations between the two companies progressed, Liberty purchased $400 million of iHeart's debt.

After iHeart missed its debt payment in February, Liberty Media made a $1.16 billion offer for a 40% stake in the company.

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