The Los Angeles-based company, saddled with more than $242 million in debt, couldn’t make a recent bond interest payment.
The voluntary bankruptcy reorganization would allow the company to trim roughly $200 million of that off its balance sheet while reducing related interest expenses, according to a company statement.
“Unlike many other companies in our industry, Fuse has been experiencing growth across platforms, but we haven’t been unable to realize the full benefits of this progress because of the significant amount of debt on our balance sheet,” Fuse Media chief financial officer and interim chief executive officer Mike Roggero said in a statement. “The Chapter 11 process provides a proven framework to efficiently address these challenges in order to position our business for long-term success. It is a logical next step toward ensuring that we are able to provide entertainment content to a traditionally underserved audience for many years to come.”
Digital and social media viewership on Fuse Media, which targets a mostly Latino and multicultural audience of Millennials and Gen Zers, has increased 250 percent over the last year, according to a press release from the company. Fuse, which delivers music, lifestyle and news content by way of video, apps, podcasts and social media channels, reaches more than 43 million households, the company said.
Even so, increased competition from Netflix and Hulu, which offer streaming services at lower prices, have weighed hard on Fuse.
The bankruptcy reorganization is still subject to approval. But Fuse said it hopes to seal the deal in the next quarter and will continue business as usual in the meantime. The media company said in a statement that it filed a series of “First Day Motions” that will “give Fuse authority to pay its employees as usual and to honor its go-forward operating expenses,” and added that the reorganization plan already has the support of about 80 percent of its note holders.
Fuse Media declined to comment further.