While it continues to outperform the industry and post strong operational results, iHeartMedia is saddled with what senior VP & treasurer Brian Coleman termed “a significant amount of debt”—$20.8 billion as of the end of March. During the company’s results call yesterday, Coleman and COO & CFO Rich Bressler talked about steps to address capital structure needs.
Since Q3 2015, iHeart has focused on generating cash liquidity, something it will continue to do to give it the resources to be “proactive” and “opportunistic” in the capital markets, Coleman said. That could involve more sales of “non-strategic assets at high multiples,” Bressler added, such as the Q1 sale of nine outdoor markets for nearly $600 million.
The largest use of cash for the company during the quarter was related to interest payments, which totaled $549 million—a disproportionately high total due to the timing of its semiannual interest payments.
“We feel like we’ve been able to manage the company’s capital structure and its liquidity position in a way that hasn’t inhibited the operation of the business and I think you can see that our investment in the business continues at levels that are consistent with historical levels,” Coleman said.
Coleman also spoke of “a window of opportunity” the company has to address its debt, which could take the form of a “holistic approach” or a sequential one. The company has $197 million in loans maturing in 2016, $238 million in 2017 and $939 million in 2018. “The ability to right- size the debt portion of our capital structure in the face of [earnings] growth is also a priority,” Coleman said. But defining the company’s financial priorities “has a lot to do with where the opportunities are,” he said. “And that’s really the formula that we have to look at.”