Debt – $21 billion of it – is the elephant in the room whenever there’s a discussion of Clear Channel Communications and its parent company, CC Media Holdings. So it was hardly surprising that CFO Tom Casey was asked about plans to manage that debt load at this week’s Wells Fargo Securities Technology, Media & Telecom Conference.
Casey has been busy this year with some big debt refinancings – one for $1 billion, which also amended some covenant terms, and another a few months later for $750 million. As a result of those transactions, along with some debt pay-down from free cash flow, Clear Channel doesn’t face a really big debt maturity deadline until 2016, although there are some chunks of debt that come due before then. The CFO said $250 million comes due in 2012 and $400 million in 2013.
“Between the growth of the business, the cash flow we generate and the cash we have on the balance sheet, we are well positioned through 2014,” Casey said, “and that leaves us obviously well positioned for a 2016 refinancing.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Whatever you may think of the top execs of Clear Channel as broadcasters, they are masters of balance sheet maneuvers. The vulture funds who thought they would get to feast on this carcass were left hungry.