GateHouse Media Inc., owner of The Repository, The Times-Reporter, The Independent, Suburbanite and other niche publications and websites in Northeast Ohio, has emerged from prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.
GateHouse filed for Chapter 11 on Sept. 27 with the unanimous support of its lenders to restructure $1.2 billion of debt that was scheduled to come due in August 2014. GateHouse is now owned by New Media Investment Group Inc. and is under common ownership with Local Media Group, the newspaper group that operates eight daily community newspapers and 13 weeklies.
According to Michael Reed, director and chief executive officer of GateHouse, the bankruptcy filing was a strategic decision to facilitate this restructuring, and GateHouse was able to continue operations while in Chapter 11 without disruption.
"GateHouse's plan effected a 'balance-sheet restructuring' and allowed GateHouse to emerge from bankruptcy with much less debt on its balance sheet and with its business operations intact," Reed said.
"Joining with Local Media Group is an important step in growing the GateHouse business and will contribute to future success as the pre-eminent source for locally focused content, covering and serving our subscribers, advertisers and customers through print, online and other digital products, including mobile applications."
Pension, trade and all other unsecured creditors of GateHouse were not affected under the prepackaged plan.
GateHouse's secured lenders, whose debt was cancelled under the plan, received choice of shares in New Media or a 40 percent cash distribution. The publicly traded shares of GateHouse have been cancelled, with shareholders receiving warrants for New Media stock.
GateHouse, headquartered in Fairport, N.Y., is one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States as measured by its 78 daily publications. GateHouse serves local audiences of about 10 million per week across 21 states through hundreds of community publications and local websites.