GateHouse Media files for bankruptcy
(GateHouse Media) — GateHouse Media Inc., which owns newspapers in Missouri, has commenced voluntary chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. GateHouse requested confirmation of a joint prepackaged plan of reorganization.
GateHouse and affiliates announced on Sept. 11 a plan to restructure about $1.2 billion of debt scheduled to come due in August 2014. According to Michael Reed, director and CEO, the bankruptcy filing was a strategic decision to facilitate this restructuring, and not a reflection of any operational difficulties on the part of GateHouse.
According to the proposal GateHouse will emerge from bankruptcy with much less debt, but with its business operations completely intact.
GateHouse publishes newspapers in 330 markets across 21 states.
“We don’t believe our customers, vendors, or employees will notice any change on our day-to-day operations as a result of the bankruptcy,” Reed said. “From an operational standpoint, it’s business as usual.”
According to the plan, when it emerges from bankruptcy, GateHouse will be under common ownership with Local Media Group, Reed said. Local Media operates eight daily community newspapers and 13 weeklies.
GateHouse’s common stock would be canceled under the plan, and holders of secured debt would have the option of receiving a cash distribution equal to 40 percent of their claims, or stock in New Media Investment Group Inc., a new holding company that will own GateHouse and Local Media Group.
GateHouse’s daily newspapers in Missouri are in Independence, Hannibal, Chillicothe, Kirksville, Macon, Moberly, Mexico, Boonville, Maryville, Rolla, Waynesville, Neosho, Carthage and Camdenton. Its weeklies are in Brookfield, St. James, Aurora and Greenfield. It also owns a number of free weekly publications and regional shoppers.