iHeartMedia said Thursday that it has withdrawn its financial guidance for 2020 “due to heightened uncertainty related to the novel coronavirus pandemic” and that it boosted its cash reserves by drawing $350 million from its revolving credit facility to “maintain maximum financial flexibility.”
Drawing $350 million from its $450 million revolver loan, coupled with cash on hand, gives the company “a prudent level of liquidity at this time,” President, COO and CFO Rich Bressler said in a press release.
“We fully appreciate the unprecedented challenges posed by this crisis, however, we remain confident in our business, our employees and our strategy,” Bressler continued. “With our experienced management team and our leadership position in the audio sector, we are committed to navigating this period while serving our audiences and other constituents.”
Pointing to “ongoing uncertainty surrounding the duration and magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the U.S. economy,” Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman said withdrawing its full year 2020 guidance was the appropriate thing to do. “While we cannot determine the full extent of COVID-19’s impact on our business at this time, we are monitoring this rapidly evolving situation closely and look forward to discussing our business in greater detail as part of our first quarter 2020 earnings results investor call,” Pittman said. “At iHeartMedia, our listeners rely on us as a trusted voice for companionship and calm and as a source for critically important information, especially during times of crisis and need, and we remain fully committed to fulfilling this mission,” he added.
The company had a “strong January and February,” Bressler said, before the coronavirus began to unfold into a global pandemic in early March. “The challenges that COVID-19 has created for advertisers and consumers has impacted iHeart’s revenue in recent weeks, creating a less clear business outlook in the near term,” he added.
iHeart joins dozens of other companies, including Ford Motor Co., Expedia, Wynn Resorts Townsquare Media and Urban One, in drawing down money from a revolving credit facility due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Townsquare borrowed $50 million on March 17 as “a precautionary measure” and Urban One earlier drew $27.5 million from its line of credit. The moves aren’t unique and it’s likely other radio groups may take a similar step to give them a bigger cash cushion in which to operate.