Cengage Learning may file for bankruptcy protection soon: WSJ

Textbook publisher Cengage Learning Acquisitions Inc may file for bankruptcy protection in the coming days, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The publisher, which is owned by British investment firm Apax Partners, is currently negotiating a prearranged bankruptcy restructuring with senior creditors and plans to seek Chapter 11 court protection as early as July 5, the Journal said.

Cengage has struggled in recent times as customers shift more to Internet study materials on smartphones and tablets and state and local governments reduce spending on school books. (http://r.reuters.com/sud39t)

The Stamford, Connecticut-based publisher is discussing a host of options with creditors to eliminate a significant chunk of debt, according to the Journal. They include forgiving debt for ownership stakes in a restructured Cengage; exchanging current debt for new debt with a later due date; and receiving some cash repayment.

Creditors, which include Apollo Global Management LLC , BlackRock Inc , Oaktree Capital Management and KKR Asset Management, part of KKR & Co LP , hold more than $4 billion in debt, the financial daily said.

In March, the publisher hired restructuring advisers and drew down a revolving credit facility of $430 million to ensure that its businesses have the cash they need.

Cengage had warned that if it was unable to refinance or extend its 2014 loan it may not have sufficient liquidity to finance its operations.

Formerly known as Thomson Learning, Cengage was acquired by Apax and Omers Capital Partners in 2007 in a $7.75 billion leveraged buyout from Thomson Corp, which later combined with Reuters Group Plc to form Thomson Reuters Corp .

(Reporting by Avik Das in Bangalore; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)