iHeartMedia Inc filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday as the largest U.S. radio station owner reached an in-principle agreement with creditors to restructure its overwhelming debt load.
The company, which filed for bankruptcy along with some of its units, said it reached the agreement with holders of more than $10 billion of its outstanding debt for a balance sheet restructuring, which would reduce its debt by more than $10 billion.
IHeartMedia, which has struggled with $20 billion of debt and falling revenue at its 858 radio stations, said cash on hand and cash generated from ongoing operations will be sufficient to fund the business during the bankruptcy process.
“The agreement … is a significant accomplishment, as it allows us to definitively address the more than $20 billion in debt that has burdened our capital structure,” Chief Executive Bob Pittman said.
The filing comes after John Malone’s Liberty Media proposed on Feb. 26 a deal to buy a 40 percent stake in a restructured iHeartMedia for $1.16 billion, uniting the company with Liberty’s Sirius XM Holdings satellite radio service.
Clear Channel Outdoor, a subsidiary of iHeartMedia and one of the world’s largest billboard companies, and its units did not commence Chapter 11 proceedings.
IHeartMedia skipped a $106 million interest payment on Feb. 1, triggering a 30-day grace period during which the company has tried to hammer out a deal with it bondholders.