The first big shoe has fallen. Cumulus has taken a serious step to try to restructure its $2 billion in debt by seeking protection in bankruptcy court. Since former CEO Lew Dickey was pushed out over two years ago, company executives have made it clear the debt was a major issue and they needed to get it under control. It’s the first step to what may be a long process, because it appears not all lenders are on board. Here’s what they’ve done.
Cumulus has entered a Restructuring Support Agreement with some of its secured lenders, among others, that hold, in the aggregate, about 69 percent of its term loan; the agreement will reduce Cumulus’ debt by more than $1 billion, the company said Wednesday afternoon. To implement the balance sheet restructuring, it has filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The bankruptcy court must approve the plan.
Friday would have been the end of a 30-day deadline that was set into motion when Cumulus decided not to make a $23.6 million interest payment, hoping to force lenders to the table to help relieve some of the company’s $2 billion in debt.
The Company says it has enough cash on hand, combined with funds generated from ongoing operations, to support the business during the financial restructuring process, and as a result, it does not intend to seek debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing.
Cumulus President/CEO Mary Berner said, “The actions we are taking today to address our balance sheet are a critical step forward for Cumulus. We will use this restructuring process to relieve the financial constraints on our continued progress, allowing us to focus our resources on investing in our business and people to strengthen our competitiveness and ultimately drive growth. We have ample cash to support our operations and service our advertisers, vendors, and affiliates during this period, and we look forward to becoming an even stronger partner to all of them when we complete this important phase of our turnaround strategy.”
A restructuring hotline and website has been set up for anyone wanting more information. The number is 1-844-429-1668. Cumulus’s case has been assigned to Judge Shelley Chapman and Case No. 17-13381. The Docket can be accessed through the website maintained by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (http://www.nysb.uscourts.gov)
Cumulus was delisted from NASDAQ earlier this month and was on the cusp of a 30-day “event of default” on an interest payment on its 7.75 percent senior notes due in 2019. Cumulus also earlier released a term sheet with details on a pre-packaged Chapter 11.