Ion Networks Files for Ch. 11 Protection

NEW YORK Ion Media Networks said it filed for Chapter 11 protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy code late Tuesday.

The company, formerly known as Pax TV, said the filing came after it reached an agreement with a group of creditors to exchange debt for equity once the company restructures its balance sheet.

The Chapter 11 petition was filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

“We are pleased with the support from our first lien senior debt holders to resolve the company’s legacy debt issues and fund our television growth plans,” said Ion CEO Brandon Burgess. “We are positioning the business for growth and will emerge from the restructuring in a strong position to serve viewers, clients and stakeholders.”

Ion confirmed last month that it was talking with creditors about a possible restructuring and said at the time it had hired Kirkland & Ellis, a law firm known for its bankruptcy practice, and financial advisor Moelis & Co., which specializes in helping clients restructure debt.
 
Ion was launched in 1998 by broadcaster Bud Paxson as the Pax Network. Paxson, a born-again Christian, believed he could carve out a niche for a network with “family-friendly” programming. The operation rebranded in 2005 as I: Independent Television and again in 2007 as Ion TV.
 
Current programming includes a mix of off-network reruns such as NCIS and Boston Legal, as well as motion pictures. Additional syndicated shows, such as Criminal Minds and Ghost Whisperer, will join the line-up in the second half of the year, along with several originals, including the crime drama Durham County starring Hugh Dillon.