Bankruptcy Court Approves Summit Media Rescue Plan

By | May 27, 2011

A court has approved a plan of reorganization for Summit Business Media Holding Co., parent of The National Underwriter Co. and other publications, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January when it was $252 million in debt.

Overall the plan cuts $140 million of the firm’s debt.

The plan approved by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware is basically what Summit proposed when it filed for bankruptcy. At that time, the plan had already been accepted by more than 80 percent of its lenders. The plan addresses the debt as follows:

  • Some $189 million in first-lien debt held by GE Capital Corp., ECP Credit/Eos Partner, Bank of Montreal and other lenders is exchanged for a $110 million loan and 89.4 percent of stock in the new Summit. This transaction erases the 85 percent ownership previously held by affiliates of the Chicago equity investment firm Wind Point Partners.
  • Holders of about $55 million in second lien debt, including Ares Capital, will receive $1 million and 5.6 percent of stock in the new Summit and the right to purchase an additional 2 percent of stock.
  • Vendors holding millions of dollars in unsecured debt will get only 2 percent under the plan. Originally, Summit reported this debt figure to be $8 million. The company said a current figure was not available.

Summit got into trouble after completing more than a half dozen acquisitions in 2006 and 2007. Its digital revenues have also failed to keep up with falling print advertising and event revenues. From 2008 to 2009, the company’s print revenue decreased by 33 percent and event revenue fell by 15 percent, while electronic revenue increased by only 3 percent.

Under the terms of the restructuring, four new directors have been named. Andrew Goodenough remains president and CEO. Charles McCurdy, CEO of Apprise Media, is now chairman of the board for Summit.

Summit has continued to operate during the bankruptcy proceeding with the help of a $5 million credit line.

Summit’s property/casualty properties include American Agent and Broker magazine, The National Underwriter, Claims, Florida Underwriter and the Web site

Wells Publishing, publisher of Insurance Journal magazine,, and, is a competitor of Summit in the property/casualty publishing field.

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