Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lee Enterprises Out of Bankruptcy

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 10:07 AM

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Late yesterday afternoon Lee Enterprises officially left behind its bankrupt status. The parent corporation of our own Post-Dispatch, as well as more than 40 other daily newspapers, successfully repackaged boatloads of debt without paying any of it down or selling it off. That means the big payment the company was supposed to have made in April of 2012 now doesn't need to be paid until December 2015 ($689.5 million due) and April 2017 ($175 million).

That does not include the $126.4 million debt Lee Enterprises incurred when it bought the Pulitzer company, which needs to be paid December 2015. That means the company has a total bill of $815.9 million for Christmas in 2015.
Lee Enterprises projects it will lose money for most of 2012 (a loss of $4.4 million is projected between February 1 and September of this year), but will somehow turn that around by 2015, when it will be making a projected $4.6 million profit.

One way or another, December 2015 looks to be a momentous month in these parts. Either Lee Enterprises caps a three-year run of increasing financial strength by paying off that $815.9 million debt, or it becomes a black Christmas for St. Louis.

It should be noted that none of the creditors who could vote in opposition to the restructuring did; so the companies that have their own cash on the line believe that Lee can somehow pull this off.

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