iHeartMedia Battles Angry Creditors as Bankruptcy Looms

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Massive radio conglomerate iHeartMedia has long been struggling to stay afloat after saddling itself with billions in debt.  Now, the company’s battles with creditors are intensifying as bankruptcy looms.

Just this week, iHeartMedia was faced with a default notice from its senior creditors.  The warning came after iHeartMedia decided to transfer 100,000,000 shares of Class B common stock in Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings to Broader Media LLC, another subsidiary.

The transfer happened on December 3rd of last year, and creditors are now claiming that this action was forbidden under the terms of the loan.  In response, iHeartMedia has challenged these allegations by filing a lawsuit against creditors in Bexar County State District Court (ironically, using some of the money loaned to them to pay attorneys).

It’s a perfectly messy scenario rooted in billions of unpaid loans, and on Tuesday, March 8th, iHeartMedia Inc responded against creditor allegations with the following statement:

”We believe our recent contribution of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. stock to our subsidiary Broader Media, LLC constituted a permitted investment under, and fully complied with, our financing agreements.”

”We strongly believe the notices of default issued by the lender group based on the contribution are invalid.”

The court granted iHeartMedia with a 14 day restraining order, which also prevents further default notices from its creditors.  In an 8-K filing, iHeart states that ”the Court may extend the temporary restraining order up to 14 additional days.’  That buys a little time, but may only be delaying a number of seriously financial implosions, including bankruptcy.

That result, perhaps inevitable, would also be bad news for recording labels.  For several years, major labels Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group have been lobbying to force major radio broadcasters to pay for the broadcasting of recordings (currently, stations just pay performance royalties on publishing).  But with dire financial clouds accumulating, it’s become far less likely that additional licensing payments will happen.


(Image by Carl Wycoff, Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic, cc by 2.0)

6 Responses

  1. Remi Swierczek

    Possibly they could become my advocates in conversion of 100,000+ global Radio stations to simple discovery based music stores!
    $200B music industry would also feed Radio.

  2. Tim Wood

    I’m just glad to see Rush Limbaugh’s crib fall apart, slat by slat. Clear Channel doesn’t do a thing for music.

    • JoeB

      Digital copying was scapegoated. Meanwhile across the nation, vibrant over the air FM radio with independent DJ playlists gave way to monolithic corporate dictated programming. The main st for artists to rise and nurture long careers gave way to a Wall St for selected artists to rise and fall quickly.

      Clear Channel (with Cirrus) is the unacknowledged black hat behind the failure the music industry for the past 30 years.

  3. Tim Wood

    PS Where’s Bexar County? iHeart is a Fla. company IIRC, but others might not know that.

    • JL

      San Antonio is in Bexar county. That is where Clear Channel (what iHeart used to be called) was primarily home officed, it is now an accounting home office for the most part. Primary iHeart offices are now in NYC.

  4. DurkD

    I am a new subscriber to DMN. I was just wondering if you guys could put a few more ads on your pages. I don’t think you guys have enough and I really like the interuption of the information flow as I read your articles….just sayin’