Skip to Content

George Soros fund set to become largest shareholder in radio giant Audacy

By Mike Murphy

Court gives approval for Audacy to emerge from bankruptcy process

Radio and podcasting giant Audacy Inc. has received court approval to emerge from bankruptcy, with hedge-fund billionaire and philanthropist George Soros's investment fund on track to become the company's largest stakeholder.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas on Tuesday approved Audacy's plan to emerge from the Chapter 11 process, which the company filed for in January. Audacy said it plans to emerge from bankruptcy once the Federal Communications Commission grants its approval.

In a statement, Chief Executive David J. Field called the bankruptcy court's approval "a powerful step forward" that will allow Audacy "to pursue our strategic goals and opportunities in the dynamic audio business."

Under its prepackaged restructuring plan, Audacy will reduce by about 80% its $1.9 billion of debt, to roughly $350 million.

Last week, court filings disclosed that Soros Fund Management - the billionaire's investment fund - had acquired about $415 million of Audacy's first-lien debt. That means that Soros would be among the first creditors to be paid back, in the form of equity in the restructured company once it emerges from bankruptcy. That stake would make Soros's investment fund Audacy's largest shareholder, Bloomberg News reported last week.

Audacy picked up most of its debt after its merger with CBS Radio in 2017.

It owns more than 200 radio stations across the U.S., including WFAN and WINS in New York, KROQ in Los Angeles, KCBS in San Francisco and WXRT in Chicago. In its bankruptcy filing, Audacy said it faced a "perfect storm of sustained macroeconomic challenges," including a cratering advertising market.

Audacy shares (AUDAQ) were delisted from the New York Stock Exchange in November and are now traded over the counter.

The stock has sunk 97% over the past 12 months, though it rallied 44% on Tuesday, to 20 cents, its highest level since early January.

The Hungarian-born Soros was instrumental at the conclusion of the Cold War in the restructuring of the U.S.-government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which for decades served listeners behind the Iron Curtain who otherwise had access only to state propaganda organs, that saw a Soros-funded entity acquire and preserve the archives of those radio operations.

MarketWatch contributed.

From the archives:

Kremlin claims Russian-American journalist with RFE/RL is an unregistered foreign agent

Radio Free Europe photojournalist arrested in Belarus, says free-press organization

NPR's CEO: 'I have lost my faith in the decision-making' at Twitter under Elon Musk

Elon Musk's Twitter has decided NPR is state media. That doesn't make it true.

-Mike Murphy

This content was created by MarketWatch, which is operated by Dow Jones & Co. MarketWatch is published independently from Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal.


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

02-22-24 0806ET

Copyright (c) 2024 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Market Updates

Sponsor Center