Clear Channel Juggles Debt

by , Dec 2, 2013, 7:27 PM
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Still burdened with a mountain of debt from the deal to buy out shareholders and take the company private in 2007-2008, Clear Channel Communications is seeking to push back repayments for some of this debt in exchange for agreeing to higher interest rates, the company announced last week.

Under the terms proposed by Clear Channel Communications to lenders, the media giant would extend the repayment deadline for two chunks of debt totaling $1.8 billion from 2016 to 2019 and 2021, raising its interest payments by $55 million per year over that period.

This is just the latest attempt by Clear Channel to juggle debt by borrowing or restructuring its finances as it struggles to service around $20.4 billion in debt, including $18 billion assumed in the going-private transaction in 2007-2008.

In 2012-2013, the company managed to refinance around $7 billion worth of loans, and in February of this year, the company announced that it would use $575 million from a new debt offering to cover payments on old loans coming due in July 2014.

Then in May, the company negotiated new terms with lenders to push back maturities on another $5 billion from 2016 to 2019.

However, that left roughly $4.3 billion billion in debt set to come due in 2016 -- including $3 billion due in January and $1.3 billion due in August of that year. The latest move should alleviate some of that pressure -- but as the costs for juggling debt mount, the company's room to maneuver is shrinking, despite stringent cost-cutting measures.

The company's interest expense increased 7% from $1.15 billion in the first nine months of 2012 to $1.23 billion in the first nine months of 2013. Meanwhile, the company posted a net loss of $297.7 million in the first nine months of 2013 -- up from a $233.2 million loss in the same period of 2012.

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