As they struggle to put their finances on a firmer footing, one of the advantages enjoyed by some legacy publishers is their often considerable real-estate holdings. Buildings and property can provide a handy source of ready cash for investment, operations, or to pay off old loans, through sales, rental, or new borrowing.
That’s the strategy being pursued by health and fitness publisher Rodale Inc., which hopes to sell some of its corporate real estate in hock to help secure an existing line of credit to $35 million, according to The Morning Call of Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Specifically, in May, Rodale agreed to set aside the proceeds from the planned sale of two properties in Emmaus, PA, to repay a 2015 loan from M&T Bank, based in Buffalo, NY. Rodale is asking over $4 million for the two properties, which have yet to sell, and is earmarking part of the cash from the sale for repayment of the loan.
The loan was originally obtained by pledging Rodale’s corporate headquarters in Emmaus, as well as Runner’s World and Women’s Health magazines, as collateral.
Not long after the May agreement, Rodale put itself up for sale, suggesting the agreement may be intended to make the publisher more attractive to potential buyers by tapping relatively safe mortgage borrowing as opposed to other kinds of loans. However, the MC notes it may also indicate the publisher is facing difficulties maintaining cash flow to cover its current obligations.
The fact that a bank would seek more collateral also suggests it believes the loan recipient has become a greater financial risk.
On the plus side, Rodale still owns a considerable amount of real estate around Emmaus, with 16 parcels of land altogether worth of $23 million, per assessments cited by the MC.
Rodale announced it was considering “strategic alternatives” for the company, including a potential sale of the whole company, specific properties, groups of properties or individual businesses, in June. Subsequently, the publisher set an Aug. 3 deadline for interested buyers to submit bids to acquire the publisher, per a report in the New York Post.
David Zinczenko, for many years the high-profile editor-in-chief of Men’s Health and the author of best-selling books, like “Eat This, Not That!” is said to be involved in potential deals for Rodale properties.
Hearst, Bonnier, Meredith and Ziff-Davis are also believed to have expressed interest in submitting bids.