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iHeartMedia receives green light for direct listing on NASDAQ

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US-based mass media company iHeartMedia will begin trading on the NASDAQ Global Select Market starting from July 18th, as a direct listing instead of an initial public offering, the company announced on June 28th.

The move is similar to the one Spotify took last year and frees the company from some of the restrictions of a traditional IPO. It will trade under the ticker IHRT. The company is scheduled to meet with investors during the week of July 15th.

“Our listing on the NASDAQ will provide greater liquidity for existing shareholders, allow us to diversify our investor base, and give us improved access to public capital markets in the future,” said iHeart Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman.

The company — the country’s largest radio network — had filed an S-1 earlier this year in the context of exploring an IPO option, but ultimately decided in favour of a listing and withdrew the S-1.

Formerly known as Clear Channel, iHeartMedia filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2018 after amassing more than $20 billion in debt following a leveraged buyout a decade earlier.

This January, a U.S. court approved iHeartMedia’s bankruptcy plan, which will cut its debt drastically from $16.1 billion to $5.75 billion. The plan calls for iHeartMedia and billboard operator Clear Channel Outdoor to be separated, creating two independent public companies. Also in January, the company said Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and Rich Bressler, President, COO and CFO, have extended their contracts by four years.

For the financial year 2018, iHeartMedia generated $3.6 billion in revenue — essentially flat from the year prior — and a net loss of $38 million on a pro-forma basis (backing out Clear Channel Outdoor). Its $976 million of adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), represents a 27% margin. That, iHeartMedia claimed, is the highest adjusted EBITDA margin of any major advertising-supported audio media company.

 

 

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