Star-Tribune Skips Debt Payment; S&P May Downgrade Gannett


This is a rough time if for any company that’s debt dependent, and few industries are in more desperate need of restructuring there than ailing newspapers. Just last week, McClatchy (NYSE: MNI) gave itself some breathing room, restructuring its debt at the cost of higher interest rates. Today the Minneapolis Star-Tribune said it skipped a $9 million payment in an attempt to preserve cash while it restructured itself. The company added that bankruptcy is an option being considered, and indeed it may not have much choice now that it’s not paying its debt holders. The paper is owned by PE fund Avista, which in May wrote down 75 percent of the $530 million investment it made.

Also today, S&P said it may downgrade the debt of USAToday publisher Gannett (NYSE: GCI). The ratings agency said it was watching the company’s “A-2” commercial paper rating, though it added that it’s not yet worried about the company’s liquidity. That prompted the company to issue this statement: ” As a prudent liquidity measure in light of the ongoing credit market dislocations, Gannett partially drew down on its committed revolving credit facilities sufficient funds to cover all of its commercial paper obligations outstanding. This action was taken prior to — and was completely unrelated to — Standard & Poor

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