Wednesday, March 09, 2016

iHeart is about to iMplode

The biggest radio company in the world, iHeart media--formerly Clear Channel, is on the verge of disaster. I've written previously about their ridiculous debt. I've always warned that one day the chicken has to come home to roost. That day may be coming VERY soon according to this morning's Tom Taylor NOW column...

iHeart can’t kick the can down the road any more – It owes too much. Some bondholders claim the company recently violated some covenants and triggered an “event of default.” That was Monday, and iHeart dashed to State District Court in San Antonio and sued the bondholders. It’s asking for a declaratory judgment that it’s not in default, and requesting temporary and permanent injunctions “to fully protect our rights.” Will that work, though? By selling off some assets (broadcast towers, some outdoor assets) and exchanging some debt for new high-interest notes, the company thought it had bought enough time to get to 2018, when there’s a real crunch - like over $1 billion due in 2018 and another $8.3 billion in 2019. This year only about $193 million worth of notes mature. But the company’s recent trick of contributing 100 million shares of Class B stock of its Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings subsidiary to a new subsidiary named “Broader Media” (February 4 NOW) ticked off some bondholders. Collectively, they own more than 25% of iHeart’s priority guarantee notes, and they’re the ones who filed Notices of Default.