During her CRS interview, Cumulus CEO Mary Berner said, from a day-to-day standpoint, the restructure means nothing. She said the decision to file for bankruptcy was purely a business transaction and on the operational side it’s business as usual. Since taking over the company, more than two years ago, Berner has been very up-front about the need to not only turn the company around, but fix the balance sheet. Here’s more of what she said Tuesday.
Between 1998 and 2013, Cumulus completed approximately $5 billion worth of acquisitions to grow its network and station businesses, with the largest being the acquisition of Citadel in 2011. The company struggled to develop the management and technology infrastructure required to integrate the acquired assets and to support and manage its expanding portfolio, according to CFO John Abbot.
Berner told CRS attendees that when she took over the company she knew she needed to accomplish two things: fix the operational stability and fix the debt from the Citadel transaction. “We fixed the foundation but the mortgage was too high. We have plenty of cash. It’s business as usual for us.” Berner said there was plenty of confidence that everything would be fine within the company after the filing. She says the hashtag #wegotthis started to quickly circulate among the employees.
Berner’s expectation is that the company will emerge from bankruptcy in April or May with a much stronger balance sheet. “We will have a much lower mortgage on our house with the ability to invest.” Cumulus filed for bankruptcy in November 2017 with about $2 billion in debt. If the bnkruptcy plan is approved, Cumulus will reduce its debt by more than $1 billion.
Cumulus has over 440 radio stations and 6,000 employees.