iHeartMedia’s Board of Directors elected not to make a cash interest payment of $106 million to holders of its 14% senior unsecured notes due 2021 as active discussions continue among its lenders, noteholders, and financial sponsors regarding a comprehensive debt restructuring. iHeart reports it has the cash on hand, but the Board elected not to make the payment in connection with ongoing efforts to “proactively and comprehensively address iHeart’s capital structure.”
Following that news, The Wall Street Journal reported, “iHeartMedia Inc., the nation’s largest radio broadcaster, is likely to file for bankruptcy protection as early as March after a decade of ballooning debt and faltering growth, drawing the curtain on one of the biggest leveraged buyouts before the 2008 financial crisis. An insolvency would put iHeart’s 856 terrestrial stations and its billboard-advertising business into the hands of creditors, who would then have to figure out how to find growth in the face of challenges ranging from a sluggish advertising market to new technologies that have changed the way consumers listen to music.”
The report notes that iHeart has spent more on debt payments than it earns for the past 5 years and juggled more than $20 billion in debt during much of the past 10 years.