Friday, May 26, 2017

iHeartMedia’s Troubles Worsen

iHeartMedia Inc.’s financial troubles deepened as the company extended the deadline — for a fifth time — on a $14.6 billion distressed debt exchange offer after few investors showed interest and those who did started backing out of the deal.

According to The Express-News, the deadline, which was scheduled to expire Friday, was extended to June 9 at 4 p.m.

The company said it needs more time to negotiate with investors and lenders on a debt restructuring plan. If executives cannot get an agreement, the company will likely have to file for bankruptcy, the company has previously said. iHeartMedia had $20.4 billion in outstanding debt as of March 31.

“People who tendered backed out,” said Patrice Cucinello, an analyst for Fitch Ratings in New York. “The noteholders are not receptive to the offer.”

The loss of investor interest “doesn’t give much comfort” to the possibility of a successful debt exchange, she said.

iHeartMedia recently hired Goldmans Sachs Group Inc., joining two other advisers, Moelis & Co. and Kirkland & Ellis, to help mediate negotiations, corporate debt research firm Debtwire reported.

The addition of Goldman Sachs “may help with negotiations,” said Cucinello. Fitch said in an April 25 report that iHeartMedia probably will have to file for bankrutcy.

The radio and billboard giant is trying to refinance about $8.3 billion in bonds and about $6 billion in loans. The debt-exchange terms call for various discounts on the debt and pushes out maturities by two years.

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