Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

Soros Fund Management Becomes Primary Shareholder In Audacy

By Michael Feb 16, 2024

Six weeks after Audacy filed for bankruptcy, a corporate maneuver that sees Soros Fund Management emerge as the radio company’s primary shareholder.

Soros Fund Management takes its seat at the head of the table after acquiring a sizeable chunk of Audacy’s debt, roughly $414 million in total.

The private investment management fund takes around 40% of Audacy’s total senior debt, source tells the New York Post, outsizing the stakes held by the likes of PGIM, Capital Commercial Finance, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Mockingbird Credit Opportunities Company, and Solus Alternative Asset Management.

Billboard reached out to Audacy but reps hadn’t responded at press time.

Led by chairman George Soros, who founded the private investment management fund in 1970, Soros Fund Management has experience working with radio and media assets, including $80 million invested for Latino Media Networks by way of Lakestar Finance, notes Radio Ink, plus investments in Vice Media and Crooked Media.

Addressing the Soros development, Audacy noted, “The decision by our existing and new debtholders to become equity holders in Audacy represents a significant vote of confidence in our company and the future of the radio and audio business.”

Its statement continues, “We expect to emerge from our restructuring process with a strong capital structure and well-positioned to capitalize on our strategic transformation into a scaled leading multi-platform audio content and entertainment company. We intend to continue running our business, executing our strategy and delivering for our listeners and advertisers as we always do.”

The Soros investment comes amid a turbulent time for Audacy, which on Jan. 7 said it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to reduce debts.

The Philadelphia-based broadcasting giant, formerly named Entercom, said at the time that a deal with debt holders would reduce its debt load by about 80%, from $1.9 billion, acquired primarily from its 2017 merger with CBS Radio, down to $350 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

That agreement, first disclosed by The Wall Street Journal, would give Audacy’s debt holders equity in the reorganized company.

Audacy’s portfolio includes 230 radio stations, among them WCBS in New York, KROQ in Los Angeles, WFAN Sports Radio in New York and WBBM Newsradio in Chicago. Audacy’s podcasting brands include two studios, Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, and Popcorn, an online marketplace for connecting creators and brands. Each month, the business claims to engage with over 170 million.

Trouble was brewing back in May 2023 when the business warned that a weak financial outlook could cause it to default on its debt.

Audacy has previously said it does not expect any operational impact due to the bankruptcy and restructuring.

A hearing to approve the Audacy restructuring plan is set for Feb. 20 in a Houston bankruptcy court.

By Michael

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