The decision on whether iHeartMedia is allowed to move shares of Clear Channel Outdoor to a subsidiary called Broader Media is now in the hands of a judge. Closing arguments in the week long case were heard Friday and State District Judge Cathleen Stryker is expected to make her ruling this week.
The judge will decide whether to allow a group of bondholders to file default notices against iHeartMedia because of that transfer or to OK what iHeart calls an investment, by allowing the transfer. iHeart may also be told to just put the shares back.
iHeart is looking at ways to attack its over $20 billion in debt and this transfer was one way to try to deal with that. iHeartMedia lawyer Kevin Huff told Stryker last week this transaction reduces debt and interest expense, increases income and goes straight to the bottom line. “It is critical for this company to have flexibility to make transactions.”
The bondholders argue that the transfer was not an investment. Last week lawyer Bruce Bennett told the judge that flexibility does not count as an investment. “The only thing the bondholders want is to put the shares back.”