iHeart Headed For New Chapter?

• iHeartMedia Inc. took what some industry observers believe to be another step toward bankruptcy by failing to make a cash interest payment of $106 million, which was due on Wednesday, February 1. The story appeared in the company’s hometown newspaper, the San Antonio Express-News, which reports that iHeartMedia says it has the funds on hand but withholding the payment was a conscious decision “as active discussions continue among its lenders, noteholders, and financial sponsors regarding a comprehensive debt restructuring.”

 iHeartMedia said its decision not to pay will not trigger a default on its bonds as it will now utilize “a 30-day grace period under the indenture during which it retains the right to make the interest payment to the holders of the Notes and remain in compliance with the indenture governing the Notes.”

As The Express-News notes, “The radio and billboard company has been struggling with investors to renegotiate its crushing $20 billion debt load. Some investors have reportedly been reticent to give concessions, figuring they will recover more money in a bankruptcy. iHeartMedia Inc. lost $248.2 million in the third quarter — its 29th loss over the previous 30 quarters.”