Summit Business Media files for Chapter 11 protection

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New York—Summit Business Media announced last Wednesday that it has filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Del. The company said it anticipates emerging from Chapter 11 in the first half of this year.

Summit, which publishes National Underwriter Property & Casualty, said it has secured approvals from 83% of its lenders for a restructuring plan that will cut its debt by about $135 million, which is more than half its outstanding debt. Under the plan, Summit Business Media will continue its normal, everyday operations.

Summit joins such other b-to-b media companies as Advanstar Communications, Cygnus Business Media, Penton Media and Questex Media, which have restructured their debt burden within the past two years. In an interview with Media Business, Andrew Goodenough, Summit president-CEO, said the bankruptcy filing is the last step in a two-year reorganization of the company. “We moved fast and early on restructuring in the operations in what we call ‘Project Phoenix,' ” he said. “There were four waves to it, and we went from about 525 employees to about 350. Now we've built it back to almost 400.”

In a statement Goodenough said: “Summit Business Media is a fundamentally sound and profitable company. ... While Summit has emerged from the downturn as a smaller but healthier company, we have too much debt to support our current business operations, left over from when Summit was a larger, acquisition-oriented company.”

Summit Business Media is not affiliated with Chicago-based Summit Media Group, publisher of Packaging World.

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