March 15, 2018

iHeartMedia files for bankruptcy

Crippled by falling revenue and piles of debt, radio conglomerate iHeartMedia has filed for bankruptcy.

The beleaguered company announced Thursday that it has reached an agreement with creditors and investors to restructure more than $10 billion in debt, about half of what it currently owes investors.

"The agreement we announced today ... allows us to definitively address the more than $20 billion in debt that has burdened our capital structure," iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman said in a statement.

The company said it had enough cash to support it through Chapter 11 proceedings.

Last year, iHeartMedia (IHRT) flagged "substantial doubt" about its ability to continue as a going concern, as it struggled to get out from under a massive debt load it took on as part of a leveraged buyout of billboard company Clear Channel Outdoor in 2008.

While the San Antonio-based company bills itself as a multi-platform media company, it is best known for operating about 850 radio stations across the United States. It also owns iHeartRadio's music streaming service, a popular concert business, and a majority stake in Clear Channel Outdoor.

The company has struggled with falling revenue in recent years, as it competed with streaming rivals like Spotify and Pandora.

The bankruptcy filing comes as Spotify prepares for its much anticipated $1 billion listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

The radio conglomerate owns nine stations in Connecticut, including FM stations WHCN 105.9, WKSS 95.7, WKCI 101, WKNL 100.9, WUCS 97.9 and WWYZ 92.5. Other AM stations are WPOP 1410, WELI 960 and WAVZ 1300.

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