Minority Debt Holders Now Key to Keeping 'Florida Times-Union' Parent Morris Out of Bankruptcy

By: Mark Fitzgerald In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Morris Publishing Group has fleshed out the details of how it intends to restructure without going through bankruptcy court.

Late last week, Augusta, Ga.-based Morris, publisher of The Florida Times-Union and a dozen other dailies, announced the holders of 75% of $278.5 million of senior subordinated notes had agreed to exchange those notes for $100 million in new notes. At the same time, affiliates of would then make capital contributions and repay indebtedness to Morris Publishing in order to cancel $110 million of its $138.75 million in existing senior secured indebtedness.

In the most recent SEC filing, Morris said the term sheet for the agreement with the noteholders "provides, among other things, for the restructuring of the existing notes through an out-of-court exchange offer (if holders of at least 99% of the existing notes participate) and/or a Chapter 11 filing and a plan of reorganization confirmed under the United States Bankruptcy Code."

While this means a small number of noteholders could derail an out-of-court restructuring, the fact that a large majority of noteholders have reached agreement with Morris virtually guarantees that it will speed through any Chapter 11 reorganization.


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