The New York Stock Exchange abruptly halted the trading of Audacy Class A Common Stock on Tuesday afternoon, and within hours the company announced the reason: The stock exchange has begun delisting procedures after the badly pummeled shares dropped in price yet again.
The media company intends to appeal the decision by filing a written request within 10 business days. It’s not clear how long an appeal process might take.
The company is the second largest in the U.S. commercial radio industry, ranked by revenue, after iHeartMedia. It has about $2 billion in debt, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Audacy reported a net loss of almost $36 million in the first quarter of 2023. The company operates 230 radio stations in 46 markets.
An investment of $100 in Audacy at the end of 2017 would have been worth $2.30 at the end of 2022.
David Field, the chairman, president and CEO of Audacy, said in a press release: “While we are disappointed by the NYSE’s decision, we are hopeful we will find our way back to the exchange later this year as we execute our action plans, which include a reverse stock split to satisfy NYSE rules, the continued execution of our liability management plans and working with our financial advisors to refinance our debt.”
The broadcaster’s annual shareholders’ meeting is on May 24. A reverse stock split proposal is expected to be voted on at the meeting. Audacy has “strongly encouraged” shareholders to vote in favor of the proposal, which would allow it to consolidate shares using a formula of up to one share for 30 shares.
The stock has been trading at around 10 cents the past few months and dropped to nine cents during Tuesday’s early trading. The NYSE notified Audacy in August of 2022 that its common stock was not in compliance with its minimum average closing price of $1 per share over 30 consecutive trading days. Audacy common stock “AUD” hasn’t traded above $1 in nearly a year.
The delisting comes just a week after Audacy included a “going concern” notification in its latest filing with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission saying it might not be able to sustain compliance with maintenance covenants over the next 12 months. It said during last week’s earnings call it expected to begin discussions with lenders to explore refinancing options later this summer.