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Reader’s Digest Association to Emerge from Bankruptcy Within a Week

After pension dispute, U.K. subsidiary claims insolvency, to reorganize.



By Jason Fell
02/17/2010

Roughly six months after filing for a pre-arranged bankruptcy protection, the Reader’s Digest Association said it has completed its restructuring process and plans to emerge from Chapter 11 within a week. The announcement comes about two weeks after RDA delayed its emergence in order to “address an issue” involving the pension program associated with its U.K.-based subsidiary, The Reader’s Digest Association Ltd.

As a result, RDA said that the U.K. entity is “financially unable” to pay its debts  and has filed for an administration proceeding, which means a government-appointed specialist will manage the company while it reorganizes its financial structure. The likely outcome, according to one person with knowledge of the process, is that RDA U.K. could be sold, licensed to a third party or cease operations completely.

RDA U.K. publishes the U.K. edition of Reader’s Digest, which has a monthly circulation of roughly 450,000. The business also sells books, music and video through direct mail.

Unaffected by the administration process is RDA Children’s Publishing which, although located in the U.K., reports to the U.S.-based parent company. Also unaffected is allrecipes.co.uk.

RDA filed for a pre-arranged Chapter 11 reorganization in August last year and the plan was approved by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court last month. Under terms of its restructuring plan, the company’s debt will be reduced by 75 percent from roughly $2.2 billion to approximately $555 million. Holders of RDA’s senior secured debt will receive equity, effectively transferring ownership of RDA to the lender group.

By Jason Fell
02/17/2010




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