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Penton officially files bankruptcy

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New York—Penton Media officially filed Wednesday its joint prepackaged plan for Chapter 11 reorganization with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The court documents show that the company's revenue declined 26.2% last year compared with 2008, when it dropped 7.5%. As its revenue fell, the company had difficulty keeping pace with a total interest expense burden of $66.6 million for 2009, court documents show. Its equity ownership, led by MidOcean Partners and Wasserstein Partners, have agreed to commit between $38.9 million and $51.2 million to the company as part of the restructuring, which is anticipated to go into effect May 4. The documents showed that the company's revenue declined 26.2% in 2009, falling to $300.81 million, from $407.53 million in 2008, when revenue fell 7.5% from 2007's total of $440.72 million. Penton expects revenue to tumble again this year, falling 3.8% to $289.45 million. The company anticipates returning to revenue growth in 2011. About $32.5 million of this infusion will be used for liquidity and transactions. Between $6.4 million and $18.7 million will be used to pay second lien lenders, who have the choice of being paid 15% of the outstanding principal or taking an equity stake in the company. About $266 million in second lien debt is being eliminated in the bankruptcy proceedings. The court documents said the current equity partners would retain at least a 51% stake in the company. The pre-packaged bankruptcy plan tabulated the company's total enterprise value at $72.4 million, although the documents said that figure did not necessarily reflect the company's value if it were to be acquired. In 2007 Penton was acquired by and merged into Prism in a deal valued at about $530 million, including debt. If the prepackaged bankruptcy deal is approved by the court, Penton would have about $625 million in total first lien debt, owed to General Electric Capital Corp. Penton said it has more than $1 billion in total liabilities and between $500 million and $1 billion in assets. The company also said it has between 10,001 and 25,000 creditors. Its biggest non-secured creditor is printer Worldcolor USA Corp. at $1.6 million. Another printer, R.R. Donnelley, is Penton's second biggest non-secured creditor at $1.4 million. In response to Penton's Chapter 11 filing, Standard & Poor's Ratings Service on Wednesday lowered Penton Business Media Holdings' corporate credit rating from CCC to CC. The rating outlook is negative, S&P said.
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