Daily News: May 11, 2012

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Reaches Restructuring Agreement

Global education provider Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) announced that it has reached an agreement with more than 70% of its senior secured lenders and bondholders on the terms of a comprehensive financial restructuring plan to convert HMH’s outstanding long-term debt to equity and create an appropriate capital structure to support the company’s strategic plan and business objectives.

Acceptance of this plan is currently being solicited by the company from its broader lender, bondholder and shareholder constituencies. If approved by the requisite percentages and implemented as proposed, HMH will eliminate $3.1 billion of debt and reduce current annual cash interest costs by approximately $250 million, providing the company with greater liquidity and financial flexibility as it pursues growth opportunities in the digital, consumer and international markets.

“We are excited to have reached an agreement with our lenders and bondholders on a financial restructuring plan that will equitize our current long-term debt and put HMH in a financially stronger position for the future,” said Linda K. Zecher, president and CEO of HMH. “With a more appropriately-sized capital structure and greater financial flexibility, along with our world-class brand and innovative digital education solutions, we will be well-positioned to accelerate our growth initiatives and expand our digital platform.”

Under terms of the comprehensive financial restructuring plan, HMH will convert its existing bank and bond debt into 100% of the equity in the reorganized company; trade creditors and other unsecured creditors will be paid in full in the ordinary course. If their class votes in favor of the restructuring plan, existing equity holders will receive warrants exercisable for up to 5% of the equity in the reorganized company. In addition, HMH has received a commitment for $500 million in financing from Citigroup Global Markets Inc.

“We are thrilled that our lenders recognize the long-term value of HMH, and are grateful for the support they have shown. This agreement speaks to their faith in HMH’s senior leadership,” added Zecher. “We will continue normal business operations, with no expected disruptions to our relationships with our employees, customers, business partners, or suppliers.”

To facilitate these important changes to HMH’s capital structure, in the near future the company plans to utilize a pre-packaged plan of reorganization that will be implemented through a prompt, court-supervised, chapter 11 process. This will have no impact on the company’s day-to-day operations.

The company’s restructuring counsel is Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and its financial advisor is Blackstone. The lenders’ restructuring counsel is Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and their financial advisor is Houlihan Lokey Capital.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a global education and learning company.