American Media, the parent company of National Enquirer, Star, Shape, Men’s Fitness, and business partner of Playboy, will be filing for bankruptcy protection within the next couple of weeks, the Associated Press reports.
Harassed celebrities have a reason to celebrate.
The tabloid industry, even in print, is pretty cutthroat, with magazines like US Weekly, In Touch Weekly, and People all competing over the same nonexistent material.
Add to that free online sites like TMZ.com, and its no wonder that American Media has been struggling through the recession. One of its subsidiaries, American Media Operations, had $1.1 billion in debt alone as of December 2008, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in early 2009.
American Media’s plan as of now is to appeal to most of its creditors to approve its reorganization — which will wipe out its debt in exchange for giving its bondholders ownership of the company — before filing for Chapter 11. About 80% of its bondholders have already expressed their support, the company said in a recent press release.
Under this sort of “pre-packaged bankruptcy,” AMI would be able to return to business as usual in about 60 days. “American Media is engaging in this strategy from a position of financial strength and confidence,” says Chairman, President, and CEO of AMI David Pecker.
Right. Because nothing says “financial strength and confidence” like a bankruptcy filing. And it’s just the latest grim sign for the publishing industry. AMI is just one of more than a dozen bankruptcy filings by U.S. publishers of newspapers and magazines since December 2008.
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