Friday, September 09, 2011

Lee says it's reached crucial refi deal with creditors

Aiming to avoid a trip through bankruptcy court, Lee Enterprises said early last night that more than 90% of its creditors had agreed to a refinancing of about $1 billion in debt due in spring 2012. Shares of the company, which is a Gannett business partner in Arizona, jumped in late trading after the news.

In a statement, the publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Arizona Daily Star and 47 other papers said the company's loans will be amended and extended beyond the current maturity of April 2012 in a structure of first and second lien debt.

The first lien consists of a term loan of $689.5 million, along with a $40 million revolving credit facility that is not expected to be drawn at closing. The second lien consists of a $175 million term loan. The company must still refinance another $175 million in loans, however.

In a letter to shareholders and employees, CEO Mary Junck said: "The refinancing will remove a cloud that has obscured Lee’s formidable strengths in our markets, how far we have advanced against the challenge of the national economy, and how successfully we are seizing emerging opportunities in the changing media landscape."

Lee's announcement came after equity markets closed. Its stock rose 10 cents, or 16.7%, to 70 cents a share in late trading. In regular trading, shares closed at 60 cents, a 6.3% decline on a day when many newspaper publisher stocks fell.

Gannett's stock closed at $9.87, down 68 cents, or 6.5%.

Lee, based in Davenport, Iowa, and GCI are in a 50/50 partnership that publishes the Daily Star in Tucson.


  1. Another ridiculously compensated CEO (relative of Craig?) who made millions while running her company into the ground.

  2. Resolved? Until the next crisis when private equity comes in to solve the problem. Sounds like Gatehouse to me. But McClatchy looks like it is squeaking through.

  3. After gapping up on the news, LEE stock has been selling off all morning. Back to .72 now.


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