Weil leads as Reader’s Digest publisher files for bankruptcy again

Weil Gotshal & Manges is acting as lead counsel to the publisher of Reader’s Digest after the magazine’s owner filed for bankruptcy for the second time in four years.

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The parent company of the 91-year-old magazine, RDA Holdings, filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan in a New York court on Sunday (17 February) in a bid to cut around $465m (£300m) of its debt.

Weil’s team was led by the firm’s New York-based corporate head Michael Aiello, who advised alongside head of the firm’s global business finance and restructuring department, Marcia Goldstein, as well as finance and restructuring partner Joseph Smolinsky.

In a statement, the company’s president Robert Guth said: “The complex transformation that we began 18 months ago under the leadership of a new senior management team has resulted in a more streamlined, more focused, and more profitable business, but we have unfortunately been unable to align our debt levels correspondingly.

“The Chapter 11 process, which will facilitate a significant debt reduction, will enable us to continue to redefine our business by focusing our resources on our strong North America publishing brands, which have shown a new vitality as a result of our transformation efforts, particularly in the digital arena.”

Background to this deal:

The company last filed for bankruptcy in 2009, with its lenders later taking control of it.

The latest filing is limited to the US business. When the Reader’s Digest Association (RDA) filed for administration in the UK two years ago, the London offices of Ashurst, Berwin Leighton Paisner and, Kirkland & Ellis won advisory roles (22 February 2010).

Weil obtained the role through Aiello. The firm has had an active role advising Reader’s Digest on a range of matters over the years, including in the closing of its $59m sale of its Pleasantville headquarters to a Greenfield-Summit partnership in 2004.