Bridge Plans To File Chapter 11
NEW YORK (AP) _ Bridge Information System Inc., a major supplier of financial data and news, is planning to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after agreeing on a restructuring plan with its main creditors and its biggest shareholder.
The privately owned company said Sunday the pre-arranged filing will allow it to continue its day-to-day operations while avoiding the more onerous involuntary bankruptcy proceedings that one of its creditors had requested of a court in St. Louis last week.
As part of its restructuring plan, Bridge would reduce its debt by more than $700 million by converting some debt to equity and selling unspecified assets.
It would also get $150 million in new cash that will help the company continue operations, paying its employees and suppliers.
Bridge said the prepackaged plan of reorganization would make moot the involuntary bankruptcy petition filed against it last week by one of its creditors, Highland Capital Management, a Dallas-based investment firm.
Under its plan, Bridge said senior lenders would take stock for $340 million of the company’s debt. Another $400 million of senior debt would be reduced through the sales of noncore assets, which were not specifically identified.
Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, its biggest shareholder with a 40 percent stake, will provide the $150 million in temporary financing during the reorganization process.
``We are very pleased to have reached an understanding that we anticipate will place Bridge on solid financial footing as it moves forward,″ said Bridge president David Roscoe.
He said the company has taken ``aggressive steps to improve our operating efficiency″ and hopes to conclude the reorganization process by mid-to-late March.
Bridge’s financial situation has been deteriorating badly in recent months, and one of its stockholders, Dow Jones & Co., has written down the value of its holdings in Bridge to nothing.
Bridge provides news and data on financial markets to more than 250,000 users in 65 countries. It has 5,000 employees worldwide.