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Cumulus Back on Track

Broadcaster shrinks debt as it emerges from bankruptcy

Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner can now get back to the everyday business of running the radio giant. The company said late Monday said it had completed its financial reorganization and is emerging from the shackles of bankruptcy after six months.

The broadcaster washed away a bunch of debt during the process. Though it still has substantial liability — albeit under a more manageable term loan — due May 15, 2022. Cumulus reduced its total debt balance from $2.34 billion to $1.3 billion, according to the company. It handed over about 83.5% of the company to the holders of its old secured debt.

The completion of the successful Chapter 11 gets Berner a step closer to completing her turnaround of Cumulus, launched in October 2015 when she joined the company. It also makes her two-for-two on handling bankruptcies after marshaling RDA Holding, the parent for Readers Digest, through its first reorganization in 2009.

[Read: Cumulus to Restructure Using Chapter 11]

“I want to thank our exceptional team at Cumulus Media for their dedication and tremendous efforts through this process,” Berner said in a press release. “Over the last two years, we have been relentlessly focused on our plans to turn the company around, and the completion of our financial restructuring process is a monumental step forward on our turnaround path.”

The bankruptcy exit means Cumulus can now put more money into its digital expansion by “utilizing its enhanced financial flexibility” to gain new revenue sources, according to a company press release.

Cumulus, which gained FCC approval of its reorganization plan just last Friday, owns 441 radio stations in 90 U.S. markets. The company says it has applied to have their Class A common stock listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol CMLS.

“With this financial restructuring now behind us, we are excited about what we will be able to accomplish with all of our resources and energy fully focused on our operating business,” Berner said on Monday.

Cumulus’ emergence from its financial realignment leaves iHeartMedia as the only major U.S. radio broadcaster still under bankruptcy court supervision. Experts have told Radio World that they expect iHeartMedia to take longer to sort through its reorganization. iHeartMedia, which filed for Chapter 11 in mid-March, was certainly more highly leveraged than Cumulus with $20.3 billion in debt at the time.

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