NEW YORK — Heartland Publications LLC, the owner of 23 daily newspapers and other publications in nine states, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday after agreeing with its major lender on a plan to cut the company’s debt load by more than half.
The privately held company is one of at least a dozen newspaper publishers forced into bankruptcy protection by the recession, which dampened advertising sales in an industry that was already seeing readers and advertisers migrate to the Web.
In its filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., Heartland reported assets of roughly $134 million and debts of $166 million.
Heartland spokeswoman Rivian Bell said the company’s top lender, GE Capital, has agreed to reduce what it is owed to $70 million from roughly $111 million. In exchange, the financial-services arm of the industrial conglomerate General Electric Co. would get a 90 percent stake in the company.
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Shock Jock Howard Stern, according to the Associated Press, “is threatening to leave Sirius XM Radio” because the company would like to reduce his pay in the next contract.
Sirius came close the bankruptcy this year and is looking at major cost cuts, and Stern is part of that equation. In 2006, the company gave him a five-year deal that included cash and strock valued at $500 million.
Stern may not have much bargaining power. Radio stations, free and paid (Sirius is the only one), are struggling. Citadel Broadcasting recently announced that it was filing for bankruptcy protection.
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LAS VEGAS — Citadel Broadcasting Corp. said Monday that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York has granted all of its first-day motions — including allowing the company access to over $36 million in cash it has on hand and cash it brings in from daily operations to pay workers and vendors.
Citadel, the nation’s third-largest radio broadcasting company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday in a move meant to restructure its heavy debt load. In court documents, the Las Vegas-based company listed its total assets as of Oct. 30 at $1.4 billion and total debt at $2.46 billion.
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