IHeartRadio Parent Says There Is 'substantial Doubt' It Will Survive Another Year

By Ciara LinnaneMarketsMarketWatch Pulse

iHeartMedia Inc. said Thursday there is "substantial doubt as to our ability to continue as a going concern for a period of 12 months" as it struggles to refinance or extend maturities on some of its borrowings and waits to see if creditors will participate in proposed exchange offers. The move was expected. The company, the biggest operator of radio stations in the U.S., had said in a recent regulatory filing that it intended to include 'going concern' language in its quarterly report. The company has almost $350 million of debt coming due this year, part of a massive $20 billion debt load it took on as part of a $24 billion leveraged buyout of then Clear Channel Communications Inc. by private-equity firms Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners in 2008. It has another $8.3 billion of debt coming due in 2019. The owner of iHeartRadio and Clear Channel Outdoor said revenue fell 2.4% in the quarter, while operating income fell 72.9% to $306.7 million. Operating income was boosted in the year-earlier quarter by a $278.3 million gain on the sale of outdoor markets. The company had $365 million of cash at end March. "Our current operating plan indicates we will continue to incur net losses and generate negative cash flows from operating activities given iHeartCommunications' indebtedness and related interest expense," the company said. The company's most-active bonds, the 9.00% notes that mature in March of 2021, were quoted at 76.75 cents on the dollar, according to MarketAxess.

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