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News Link • Media: Radio

IHeart Files for Bankruptcy With Last-Minute Creditor Deal

• By Emma Orr and Tiffany Kary

IHeart, with about 850 radio stations and 17,000 employees worldwide, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Wednesday in Houston, a move that allows iHeart to keep operating while it tries to cement its turnaround plan. The deal still needs approval from the court and some holdout creditors, and the company could hear again from John Malone's Liberty Media LLC, which has said it wants a stake in the reorganized media giant.

"Achieving a capital structure that finally matches our impressive operating business will further enhance iHeartMedia's position as America's #1 audio company," Chief Executive Officer Robert Pittman said in a statement.

After trying to ink a deal with creditors since last March, the company said that it reached an accord with investors holding more than $10 billion of its debt, along with its private equity owners, Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners. Their leveraged buyout in 2008 was the reason for much of iHeart's borrowing, and the company hasn't posted an annual net profit for a decade. While cash has run short, iHeart said there's enough on hand, along with what it can earn from operations, to keep the business going, cutting the need for expensive new bankruptcy loans.

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