American Media, the publisher of Star and the National Enquirer, has come to an agreement with its creditors to "refinance" $570 million of its more than $1 billion in total debt. That's code for going to the people you owe money to and saying, "Funniest thing—I just can't pay you. Wanna change our deal a little bit? Or would you prefer I just declare bankruptcy and we both get screwed?" As savvy financial types like to say, if you owe the bank $1 million, they own you; if you owe the bank $1 billion, you own them. Although AMI squandered millions needlessly on things like, you know, the services of Bonnie Fuller, the Enquirer's upsurge from the John Edwards scoop may be just the thing to push them back towards profitability. If they can figure out how to sell some extra ads on it, that is. AMI's ad sales were down slightly in the first half, though not as much as the rest of the industry. So chin up. Remember, down is the new flat! [WSJ]
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