Morris Publishing’s restructuring plan confirmed

ATLANTA — A bankruptcy court in Augusta has approved Morris Publishing Group's reorganization plan, the company announced. With the approval, the company could emerge from bankruptcy as soon as March 1.

“We are delighted with the Court's decision today,” William S. Morris III, chairman of Morris Publishing, said in a news release. “This restructuring process has been lengthy and difficult, especially for our dedicated and loyal employees. I want to personally thank them, along with our advertisers, suppliers and readers, for their valued support during this period.

“Our commitment is to remain an agile and innovative market-driven newspaper company whose core mission is to gather and distribute news, support our advertisers and publish great newspapers and Web sites.”

The company says it will be stronger financially following the bankruptcy, reducing “its overall principal amount of indebtedness from approximately $418 million to approximately $107 million.”

Last month, the company said it received “overwhelming support” for its prepackaged reorganization plan. As part of the plan, the company “will exchange $100 million of new second lien secured notes due in 2014 for the cancellation of approximately $278.5 million of principal amount of outstanding senior subordinated unsecured notes due 2013 plus accrued and unpaid interest,” it said in a news release.

Morris owns 13 daily newspapers, including three in Georgia — the Athens Banner-Herald, The Augusta Chronicle and the Savannah Morning News. The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union also publishes a Georgia edition. The company also operates the Atlanta-based Morris News Service.

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