Paul Basta needed only a month into his new role at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to pick up his first major client engagement.
The former Kirkland & Ellis partner, who left the latter this summer and landed at Paul Weiss a month ago, where he now serves as co-chair of his new firm’s bankruptcy and corporate reorganization practice, has taken the lead advising Cumulus Media Inc. on its Chapter 11 case.
The Atlanta-based company, which owns roughly 450 radio stations in 90 markets throughout the United States, delayed a $23.6 million payment to lenders on Nov. 1 and was looking at a Dec. 1 default deadline. As a result, Cumulus filed for bankruptcy Wednesday in New York as part of an effort to restructure some $2.4 billion in debt. Variety reported that the debtor had reached a prepackaged restructuring agreement with 69 percent of its term loan holders.
Basta and Paul Weiss bankruptcy partner Jacob Adlerstein are leading a team from the firm representing Cumulus, whose general counsel is Richard Denning. Ralph Everett, the first African-American partner at Paul Hastings, where he once headed the firm’s federal legislative practice, serves as an independent member of the company’s board of directors.
A call to Basta was not returned by the time of this story. Paul Weiss has yet to submit billing statements with the bankruptcy court detailing its work for Cumulus. The firm’s representation of the company in Chapter 11 is not its first time crossing paths with Cumulus, nor is it Basta’s.
In 2011, Paul Weiss advised New York-based buyout shop Crestview Partners LP in its role as an equity sponsor of Cumulus’ $1.7 billion cash-and-stock acquisition of radio industry rival Citadel Broadcasting Corp., which had filed for bankruptcy in late 2009.
Kirkland & Ellis, Basta’s former firm, advised Citadel in its Chapter 11 case, which ended in June 2010. Kirkland then represented Citadel on its subsequent sale to Cumulus. That deal is at least partially responsible for the debt load that Cumulus currently carries.
According to a list of Cumulus’ 20 largest unsecured creditors, the company owes $190,000 to the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders; $161,057 to cable news giant CNN Inc.; and $52,817 to Alston & Bird. Cumulus has stated that it has enough cash on hand to continue its operations in bankruptcy without the need for debtor-in-possession financing.