Charter Communications Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Friday in an effort to reduce its debt by $8 billion. Charter has cable operations nationwide including in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Charter appointed attorney Gregory Doody as its chief restructuring officer to oversee the financial restructuring process and minimize the impact on day-to-day operations. Charter had recently hired Doody as a turnaround specialist and adviser.
Doody previously led successful in-court and out-of-court restructurings, including at Calpine Corp., a San Jose, Calif.-based energy company, and HealthSouth Corp., one of the nation's largest providers of outpatient surgery, diagnostic imaging and rehabilitative services. HealthSouth president and CEO Jay Grinney credited Doody with helping the company redirect its focus in the wake of a multibillion-dollar corporate accounting fraud perpetrated under prior management.
The bankruptcy, filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, was pre-arranged in that the major creditors agreed to the bankruptcy terms before the petition was filed, allowing the plan to move more quickly through court.
The company, which had been burdened a $21 billion debt, said it reached agreements-in-principle with debt holders that include their investment of more than $3 billion, including up to $2 billion in equity proceeds, $1.2 billion in roll-over debt and $267 million in new debt to support the overall refinancing.
Charter said it expects that cash on hand and cash from operating activities will be adequate to fund its projected cash needs as it proceeds with its financial restructuring so it does not intend to seek debtor-in-possession financing.
“The financial restructuring is good news for Charter and our customers and, if approved, will result in Charter being better positioned to deliver the products and services our customers demand now and in the future,” said Neil Smit, president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “The support of our bondholders and their new investment in charter also underscores their confidence in our company and business.”
Charter said it has also filed motions seeking permission to continue employee wage and benefits programs and honor current customer programs without interruption, and to pay trade creditor balances and fees to local franchise authorities.
Charter had announced in February that it planned to file for bankruptcy by April 1.
St. Louis-based Charter Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: CHTR) is the nation's third-largest cable television provider, and also provides digital video programming and high-speed Internet access. It has 5.5 million customers.