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Morris Publishing Group Files For Debt Reorganization With Bankruptcy Court

Tuesday, Morris Publishing Group filed a prepackaged reorganization plan in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Georgia in Augusta to complete its debt restructuring. The decision was approved by nearly 93% of existing holders of the bond.

The Georgia-based enterprise, is a privately held media company that employs 6,000 people, with holdings across the U.S., Europe and Asia. Its holdings include newspaper and magazine publishing, outdoor advertising, radio broadcasting, book publishing and distribution, visitor publications and online services. It owns and operates 13 daily newspapers as well as non-daily newspapers, city magazines and free community publications in the Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and Alaska.

Morris in its filing seeks approval for a plan that entails issuance of $100 million of new second lien secured notes due in 2014 in exchange for the cancellation of around $278.5 million of outstanding senior subordinated notes due 2013 plus accrued interest. If approved by the court, the move would reduce bondholder debt to $126.5 million from about $415 million.

In the previous fall, the company reduced its senior indebtedness by $110 million. New notes would carry interest of at least 10%, but could bear up to 15%, some of which might be serviced in-kind until Morris Publishing repays its remaining senior debt.

Morris Communications LLC was the parent of Morris Publishing until a reorganization in 2009. however, Morris Communications is still an affiliate of Morris Publishing Group.

William Morris III, chairman of Morris Publishing Group said, "This filing is the final step in the financial restructuring we announced last fall. We are pleased that so many of our note-holders agreed to support this move to get Morris Publishing on more solid financial ground."

The group further assured that it would continue to operate its 13 daily newspapers, its non-daily newspapers, its websites, city magazines and free community newspapers without interruption or operational change. It reaffirmed that all obligations to employees and vendors would also be met in full.

by RTT Staff Writer

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