New backers DIP into ION


A trio of lenders is putting up $150M in debtor-in-possession funding for the troubled ION Media Network, getting a 62.5% stake in the company as it reorganizes and looks for a buyer or buyers.

The television group, formerly the basis of the PAX network, had been in agreements with NBCU and Citadel Investment Group, but both of those companies are now out of the picture.

The group has stations in all 20 of the top DMAs, and is in 37 of the top 50 DMAs, and has a presence in 18 smaller markets.

The companies splitting the 62.5% stake include BD ION Media GP Holdings, taking 43.7% of it, Avenue ION Holdings LP with 40.5% and Trilogy ION LLC, with 15.8%. The trio is getting the share of the group under the name Media Holdco LP, and is officially purchasing it from ION Media Networks Liquidating Trust.

Senior lenders from previous rounds of financing hold the remaining 37.5%, and shareholders are out in the cold.

$150M for 62.5% puts valuation of the entire company at $240M. Just last December, BIA appraised the group at $1.7B, an estimate the company disputed in documents filed with the FCC.

CEO Brandon Burgess will stay on hand to run the company one the change in ownership is official.

Tomorrow: A buzzard’s eye view of ION.