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Citadel Broadcasting files for bankruptcy

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Citadel Broadcasting Co., the third-largest radio group in the United States, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Sunday.

The company, which has stations in 25 states, listed liabilities of $2.5 billion on assets of $1.4 billion, according to court papers filed with the Southern District of New York.

Citadel has been saddled with debt for some time and it had been widely reported in recent months that the company could be headed toward bankruptcy.

More than 60% of the company’s secured lenders backed Citadel’s pre-negotiated bankruptcy, which will allow it to extinguish $1.4 billion of debt and convert its $2.1 billion secured credit facility into a new term loan.

Chief Executive Farid Suleman said in a statement that “business will continue as usual” and Citadel would work hard to emerge from banktruptcy “as quickly as possible.”

The company said Sunday that it had reached a deal with its lenders to gain acess to over $36 million of cash plus cash flow from operations to help it through the restructuring process.

According to Sunday’s filing, the three largest unsecured creditors were JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) (with an unspecified amount owed), Wilmington Trust Corp. (WL) (with a $49.2 million claim) and The Walt Disney Co. (DIS, Fortune 500) (with a claim of $11.2 million).

Citadel had reported a third-quarter loss of $21 million and a 14% drop in revenue for the three months ended Sept. 30. The company’s stock was delisted earlier in the year and last month Citadel warned, in a regulatory filing, that it expected sales would continue to decline through the end of the year.

The company comprises 165 FM stations and 58 AM stations. Programming includes syndicated radio properties like ABC News Radio, The Mark Levin Show and The Huckabee Report.