* Chapter 11 reorganization cuts more than $270 mln debt
* Wasserstein is big investor
* Bankruptcy exit expected within a few days
NEW YORK, March 5 (Reuters) - Penton Business Media Holdings Inc, a publisher of 113 trade magazines such as Ward’s AutoWorld, Restaurant Hospitality and National Hog Farmer, won court approval of its reorganization plan, and expects to emerge from bankruptcy within a few days.
Judge Arthur Gonzalez confirmed the New York-based company’s Chapter 11 plan on Friday in Manhattan bankruptcy court.
The plan will eliminate more than $270 million of debt, with second lien holders recovering 15 cents on the dollar. Penton will get as much as $51.2 million of new equity from its owners, court records show. Management and the board of directors will remain intact.
Penton filed for a “pre-packaged” reorganization with the support of its lenders on Feb. 10, after the privately held company struggled with falling advertising sales as many readers shifted to digital media from print.
Many publishing rivals have faced similar pressures. Penton has said revenue fell 7.5 percent in 2008 and an estimated 26.2 percent in 2009.
The company is owned by private equity firm MidOcean Partners and by an investment fund sponsored by Wasserstein & Co, the buyout firm once controlled by the late Wall Street dealmaker Bruce Wasserstein.
Penton was created in 2006 when the owners bought Penton Media Inc for $194 million and combined it with Wasserstein’s Prism Business Media Holdings Inc. Other investors include Lexington Partners, Blackrock Kelso Capital Corp and Apollo Investment Corp (AINV.O), a court filing shows.
The company has said it had $841 million of assets and $1.13 billion of liabilities as of Nov. 30.
The case is In re: Penton Business Media Holdings Inc, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 10-10689. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)