iHeartMedia have filed for bankruptcy to clear $20bn in debt

After weeks of uncertainty iHeartMedia are moving to resolve their massive debt by filing for bankruptcy.

The past few weeks have been a tumultuous time for iHeartMedia Inc, owners of highly successful radio streaming platform iHeartRadio. The company earned $20 billion in debt from an invested buyout at now illegal loan rates in 2008 and late repayments this year put them on the brink of bankruptcy. They have now confirmed they are filing for  Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

iHeartMedia have reportedly agreed a restructuring deal with investors which hold over $10 billion of the debt to reduce their outstanding bills by half. In order to implement the restructuring iHeartMedia have filed for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States’ Bankruptcy Code.

The company says they have received ‘widespread support across the capital structure for a comprehensive balance sheet restructuring’. For a while it looked like Liberty Media would be iHeartMedia’s saviours, offering $1.16 billion for a 40% stake. Interestingly Liberty Media are majority investors in other online music company SiriusXM and also hold stakes in direct radio streaming rival Pandora.

iHeartMedia chairman and chief executive officer, Bob Pittman said:

iHeartMedia has created a highly successful operating business, generating year-over-year revenue growth in each of the last 18 consecutive quarters. We have transformed a traditional broadcast radio company into a true 21st century multi-platform, data-driven, digitally-focused media and entertainment powerhouse with unparalleled reach, products and services now available on more than 200 platforms, and the iHeartRadio master brand that ties together our almost 850 radio stations, our digital platform, our line events, and our 129 million social followers.

The agreement we announced today is a significant accomplishment, as it allows us to definitely address the more than $20 billion in debt that has burdened our capital structure. Achieving a capital structure that finally matches our impressive operating business will further enhance iHeartMedia’s position as America’s #1 audio company

iHeartMedia say that income generated by their continuing businesses as well as funding they already have will keep them running during the process of bankruptcy.

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