As had been rumored earlier in the week, Freedom Communications has entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Freedom filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11, along with an agreement executed by a steering committee of their lenders. According to the agreement, a majority of the lenders will support a pre-negotiated plan of reorganization that incorporates the terms of the restructuring.
According to Freedom, its eight TV stations and dozens of newspapers "will continue normal operations." Viewers and readers, the company adds, "should see no difference in the day-to-day operations of these businesses."
"This announcement is positive news for the company and all of our associates, who have been making extraordinary efforts to transform our business, as well as for our customers and the communities that depend on us for critical information," said Freedom CEO Burl Osborne. "Reaching this agreement with our lenders provides us with an orderly process to re-align our balance sheet with the realities of today's media environment."
Freedom joins a growing list of media companies in Chapter 11, including Young Broadcasting, New Vision and Tribune.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Chapter 11 was a likely outcome for Freedom earlier in the week.
"We are grateful for the confidence our lenders have continued to demonstrate in Freedom," said Osborne. "We will work to implement this restructuring agreement through the Chapter 11 process as expeditiously as possible and emerge with a solid balance sheet to face both challenges and opportunities in the future."
Freedom has filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington.
Its stations include WPEC West Palm Beach and WTVC Chattanooga.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.