SAN ANTONIO, Texas (WOAI) - iHeartMedia Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday, as the largest U.S. radio station owner reached an in-principle agreement with creditors to restructure its overwhelming debt load.
The San Antonio-based company said it reached the agreement with holders of more than $20 billion of its outstanding debt by more than $10 billion.
"The agreement ... is a significant accomplishment, as it allows us to definitively address the more than $20 billion in debt that has burdened our capital structure," Chief Executive Bob Pittman said.
The filing comes after John Malone's Liberty Media proposed on Feb. 26 a deal to buy a 40 percent stake in a restructured iHeartMedia for $1.16 billion, uniting the company with Liberty's Sirius XM Holdings satellite radio service.
Clear Channel Outdoor, a subsidiary of iHeartMedia and one of the world's largest billboard companies, and its units did not commence Chapter 11 proceedings.
IHeartMedia skipped a $106 million interest payment on Feb. 1, triggering a 30-day grace period during which the company has tried to hammer out a deal with it bondholders.
While the company bills itself as a multi-platform media company, it is best known for operating about 850 radio stations across the United States. It also owns iHeartRadio's music streaming service, a popular concert business, and a majority stake in Clear Channel Outdoor.
The company has struggled with falling revenue in recent years, as it competed with streaming rivals like Spotify and Pandora.