DAVENPORT, Iowa --- Davenport-based publisher Lee Enterprises Inc. exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday after receiving final approval to refinance its debt.
In an order issued in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross authorized Lee to enter into its revised financing documents. The order came a week after the judge confirmed the refinancing plan presented by the company.
After that decision, Lee announced that its refinancing agreements would go into effect Monday.
Lee, the parent company of the Courier and nearly 50 other daily newspapers, filed for bankruptcy protection on Dec. 12 in the District of Delaware, where the company is incorporated. Lee is headquartered in downtown Davenport.
In December, company leaders said the voluntary, prepackaged bankruptcy was necessary in order to bind a small minority of lenders to an overall refinancing plan. It earlier had announced that a majority of its creditors had approved a new refinancing plan.
The refinancing agreement extends the maturities of nearly $1 billion in debt to December 2015 and April 2017. A portion of the debt was coming due in April.
The debt stemmed from its 2005 acquisition of the Pulitzer Inc. newspaper chain as well as declining advertising revenues resulting from the recent economic downturn.
The refinancing included the issuance of more than 6.7 million shares of Lee Common Stock, which amounts to a dilution of about 13 percent in the base of outstanding shares.
Lee stock closed at $1.42, down .01 from Friday.