Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Pittman Pay Included $9M In Bonuses During 2017

The Wall Street Journal is reporting iHeartMedia Inc. Chief Executive Robert Pittman collected more than $14 million in the 12 months leading up to the bankruptcy of the company.

In bonus pay alone, Pittman collected more in 2017 than he had received in total compensation as iHeart’s CEO since 2011, according to new bankruptcy court papers and Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

In 2017, iHM had to pay $1.4 billion in cash interest on its debt, putting a significant strain on revenue of $3.6 billion. In 2017, Pittman collected more than $9 million in bonuses, in addition to base pay of $1.25 million. The figure represents a major uptick for a top executive who had made less than $5 million total in the two previous years.

Bob Pittman
Pittman, a longtime radio veteran took over the helm at what was then known as Clear Channel Communications Inc. in late 2011. He was able to maintain the radio network’s dominant spot in the industry, but it wasn’t enough to fend off creditors pushing for a balance-sheet restructuring.

iHeart filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March, with a pact that will slice $10 billion in debt from its balance sheet, mostly by swapping it for equity or new debt in a reorganized radio operation.

The pact calls for creditors to support the restructuring, as well as enhanced rewards for executives. In bankruptcy, iHeart is asking a judge to approve nearly $7 million in incentive bonuses for Mr. Pittman for 2018, which the company says are tied to performance goals.

iHeart also spent heavily on legal and financial advice in 2017. Court records reveal the company paid more than $52 million to its own restructuring advisers, including $27 million to Kirkland & Ellis LLP, the Chicago law firm that is shepherding it through bankruptcy.

Before the bankruptcy proceeding is over, iHM will also pick up the professional fees for advisers to the major camps of creditors that negotiated its balance-sheet revamping, including advisers to owners Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital, which led the leveraged buyout that loaded the company with debt.

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