Court Clears ‘Florida Times-Union’ Parent to Exit Bankruptcy

By: Mark Fitzgerald

Morris Publishing Group’s reorganization plan was confirmed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Augusta, Ga. Wednesday, clearing the way for the parent of The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville and a dozen other dailies to emerge from bankruptcy as soon as March 1.

Under the plan confirmed by the court, Morris Publishing will reduce its debt from approximately $418 million to approximately $107 million.

Morris filed a “pre-packaged” bankruptcy reorganization plan in January that was approved in advance by the great majority of its bondholders and senior secured creditors.

Under the plan, Morris will swap $100 million of new second lien secured notes due in 2014 for the cancellation of about $278.5 million of outstanding senior subordinated unsecured notes that are due in 2013.

At the same time, entities owned and controlled by the Morris family will make a capital contribution of approximately $85 million and pay down intercompany debt amounting to about $25 million. That will cancel about $110 million of Morris Publishing’s senior secured debt.

“We are delighted with the Court’s decision today,” Morris Publishing Chairman William S. Morris III said in a statement. “This restructuring process has been lengthy and difficult, especially for our dedicated and loyal employees.”

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