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CC Looks to Refinance Debt

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Clear Channel is aiming to reduce the cost of its massive debt, freeing the 800-radio station operation from $1.33 billion in bonds that are paying holders as much as 11.74 percent through 2016.

In a statement to the SEC filed late Monday (April 20), the San Antonio-based company also said it seeks to exchange "any and all" of its $980 million in 10.75 percent senior notes due in 2016.

The company-set deadline for the exchanges is at midnight on May 18.

The company became the poster child for debt-ridden radio companies last July 25 when a consortium lead by Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners acquired the mega media operation in a protracted $17.9 billion leveraged buyout. Clear Channel currently has debt totaling $21 billion. The company told the SEC it is eyeing the possibility of hiring an advisor to review its restructuring possibilities.

In a report to the SEC filed Monday, parent company CC Media Holdings Inc., said preliminary first quarter revenue was down 23 percent to $1.2 billion from $1.56 billion last year. The dramatic drop could pose trouble for the company in getting refinancing at a discounted rate.

Appearing on CNBC last week, Scott Sperling, co-president of THL, said, "We do not have an expectation that we have an imminent blow-up at Clear Channel." Sperling noted that Clear Channel's management team and pointed to the operation's "unmatched asset base."