Media General Also Paying High Price To Spread Out Debt

By: Mark Fitzgerald

Tampa Tribune parent Media General Inc. (MEG) announced the pricing of its offering of $300 million of senior secured notes that will help spread out the maturities of its approximately $730 million in debt. The notes will carry an interest rate of 11.75%. With its price set at a discount to face value, the notes yield maturity is 12.25%.

Last week, another newspaper publisher, Sacamento Bee parent The McClatchy Co., priced its offering of $875 million in senior secured notes with an 11.5% interest rate. McClatchy’s stock price was hammered down for what was seen as a high price to refinance debt.

The Media General notes mature in 2017, and will be used to eliminate debt coming due in in 2011. If the offering, which is being placed with qualified institutional buyers and is not available to the general public, about half Media General’s debt will be due in 2013, with the othe half maturing in 2017.

Media General said in its Q4 earnings report that it ended 2009 with total debt $712 million, down from $730 million at the end of 2008.

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