Apr 3, 2019

Radio broadcaster iHeartMedia files for IPO in bid to exit bankruptcy

iHeartMedia, the country's largest commercial radio broadcaster, has filed for an initial public offering.

Why it matters: This is the latest chapter in a complex corporate saga that began when iHeart (then known as Clear Channel) was acquired in 2006 for $18.7 billion. That deal was so contentious that the private equity sponsors Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners had to sue their lenders to get the deal closed, but then the whole thing ended up collapsing under a wall of debt.

  • iHeart last year filed for bankruptcy and agreed to spin off its outdoor advertising business as part of a debt restructuring. This IPO is part of the core company's plan to exit bankruptcy.

Details: Not too many yet, as the San Antonio-based company only put a $100 million placeholder figure on its S-1 filing. But we do know it plans to have a dual-class share structure, and reports a pro forma $38 million net loss on $3.8 billion in revenue for 2018.

The bottom line, from Axios' Sara Fischer: "iHeart now has the flexibility to focus operations more seriously around streaming audio and podcast advertising, some of the fastest-growing ad segments. Its advantage is that is has a massive terrestrial radio footprint to market those efforts, but it had been inhibited by the former debt load."

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America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday, while Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 as of Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

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Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."