Gannett to refinance $1.05B in debt
Nation's largest newspaper publisher seeks to lower interest rates, extend debt maturity
McLean-based Gannett Co. Inc., the largest newspaper publisher in the U.S., announced Monday it will refinance $1.05 billion in debt to lower its interest rates and extend maturity on outstanding debt.
Gannett, which has struggled financially during the pandemic, in November 2020 announced it had refinanced approximately $500 million in debt to more quickly repay outstanding loans. The company is refinancing its 11.5% term loan to improve its balance sheet and “overall capital structure,” according to a company statement. This is expected to result in approximately $90 million in cash interest savings this year.
The company in early April 2020 announced it was in negotiations with its vendors, creditors and pension regulators to preserve Gannett’s liquidity. Gannett was noticeably missing from the Fortune 1000 list released in May 2020.
“Refinancing our original term loan was our No. 1 priority since closing the acquisition of Gannett Media Corp. in November 2019 and we are thrilled to have been able to do so this early into 2021, which is well ahead of our original target date,” Gannett Chairman and CEO Michael Reed said in a statement. “We will continue to make reducing our outstanding debt a top priority, with a goal of reaching first lien net leverage below 1.0x over the next two years.”
Gannett also announced mass layoffs, furlough and pay cuts in late March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The owner of USA Today, Gannett has a portfolio of 261 local daily newspapers in 46 states and Guam, including the Arizona Republic, the Des Moines Register and the Burlington Free Press.