Shares of iHeartMedia got a boost from the sale of its stake in BMI, rising 7.9% to $3.00 and making the radio giant the best-performing music stock of the week.
The company announced on Monday (Nov. 27) that it expected to receive approximately $100 million from the sale of BMI to New Mountain Capital. With a current market capitalization of just $423 million, the $100 million pre-tax windfall could provide a boost to a stock that has fallen 51.1% this year. iHeartMedia’s announcement said the company plans to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, “which may include the repayment of debt.” At the 2023 Wells Fargo TMT Summit on Wednesday, CFO Rich Bressler told investors, “You should assume that we will reduce debt with it.”
The BMI sale follows iHeartMedia’s announcement in its third-quarter earnings that it has paid off $519 million of debt since the second quarter of 2022. In the third quarter, the company retired $89 million in principal balance for $65 million cash, according to its Q3 2023 investor presentation. Debt reductions to date are expected to save the company about $43 million in annual cash interest. Additional debt redemptions aided by the BMI sale will further reduce interest expenses and help its bottom line while the advertising market recovers. “I think we’re in terrific shape from the liquidity generation and free cash flow,” Bressler said on Wednesday, “and also in terrific shape to be able to take advantage of opportunities in the marketplace to improve the capital structure.”
The Billboard Global Music Index dropped 0.2% to 1,449.08 as nine of the 20 stocks finished the week in positive territory, 10 stocks posted losses and one was unchanged. Year to date, the index has gained 24.1%.
The week was notable for the unremarkable movements — either positive or negative — in most stock prices. In the absence of earnings results or major news releases, the biggest companies on the Billboard Global Music Index were confined to a narrow band of results. Warner Music Group shares rose 3.8% to $34.59, Universal Music Group gained 1.5% to 24.60 euros ($26.80), Spotify fell 0.5% to $180.75 and Live Nation dropped 3.9% to $84.23.
Anghami, the Abu Dhabi-based music streamer, had the index’s largest drop, diving 18.1% to $2.30. Still, the company’s share price is up 44.2% year to date and has gained 129% since receiving a notification, from the Nasdaq Stock Market in October, regarding its stock’s closing price falling under the $1.00 per share threshold for 30 consecutive days. Companies whose stocks fall below $1.00 for extended periods face being de-listed from the exchange.
While music stocks dropped slightly, some major indexes finished the week at new highs. On Friday, the S&P 500 rose 0.8% to 4,594.63, its highest mark of 2023 and its best showing since March 2022. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, a collection of 30 blue-chip companies, rose 2.4% to a new all-time high of 36,245.50. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.4% to 14,305.03 — nowhere close to its all-time record of 16,057.44 set in 2021 but close to its 2023 high of 14,446.55 set on July 19. In the United Kingdom, the FTSE 100 gained 0.5% to 7,529.35. South Korea’s KOSPI composite index grew 0.3% to 2,505.01.