IHeartMedia, the largest radio broadcaster in the United States is preparing for bankruptcy, potentially as early as this weekend.
IHeartMedia has been circulating documents for the bankruptcy filing according to Bloomberg. The company has been crushed by about $20 billion in debt that has piled up over years and the end of the road seems to be coming. It missed a February 1 interest payment and a 30-day grace period is about the run out. It also missed payments on two more types of bonds.
The situation could become dire if it cannot come to terms on a restricting of their debt. They have been attempting to do so over the past year unsuccessfully. Talks continue, though there have been a few sticking points like iHeart’s private equity sponsors Bain Capitol and Thomas H. Lee Partners retaining a stake in the reorganized company.
IHeart has 850 radio stations across the United States. Billionaire and Trump supporter, John Malone’s Liberty Media made an offer of reportedly $1.4 billion to take 40% control of the company, but to investors the bid was not high enough.
Bankruptcy for IHeart would mean that the two largest radio operators in the US would go bankrupt in three months of each other. Cumulus, which has nearly 450 stations, went bankrupt in December. It is a difficult time for everyone in media, but radio right now seems to be really struggling.