Thousands of iHeartMedia employees at over 850 radio stations, and the entire radio industry, heard the good news Tuesday afternoon. The company received approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Marvin Isgur, confirming iHeart’s plan to reorganize, which began 11 months ago. iHeart expects to complete the restructuring process in the first half of this year, which will wipe nearly $10 billion in debt off its books.
iHeart filed for bankruptcy protection in March of 2018. Under the terms of the plan, iHeartMedia will complete a balance sheet restructuring that will reduce its debt from $16.1 billion to $5.75 billion and will separate Clear Channel Outdoor from iHeartMedia, creating two independent public companies.
CEO Bob Pittman said, “iHeartMedia is America’s number one audio company, with unparalleled multi-platform capabilities across broadcast radio, podcasts, influencers, live events, social marketing, digital, and data that uniquely serve the needs of digital and traditional marketers and a consumer reach in the U.S. greater than any other media outlet. We are delighted to reach this significant milestone in our restructuring process, which will give us a new capital structure that matches the strong operating performance of our business. iHeartMedia’s unique place in the advertising world perfectly positions us to take advantage of the renaissance underway in audio.”
Pittman continued, “Our ability to advance through the restructuring process this smoothly is a testament to both the strength of our operating business and the strong support of our stakeholders, including our debtholders who will become our owners, our advertising partners and our operating team. We have accomplished so much in the past several months alone – from major acquisitions such as HowStuffWorks, which has firmly positioned the company as the number one commercial podcast publisher globally, and Jelli, the pioneering technology foundation for the data-infused programmatic buying and selling of broadcast radio, to the continued development and implementation of transformative new technology. We will continue to work together to invest in and grow our innovative and exciting services, cutting-edge products, and great programming for decades to come.”
As previously reported, once the restructuring is 100% complete, Bob Pittman will remain Chairman and CEO and Rich Bressler will stay on as President, COO and CFO. Both have extended their contracts by four years.