Reader's Digest parent seeks Chapter 11

This will be the second time in in

This will be the second time in in less than four years that the parent company of Reader's Digest has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. (Credit: Newsday, 2003 / Jim Peppler)

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The parent company of Reader's Digest has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the second time in less than four years, saying it needs to cut its debt so it can keep restructuring.

RDA Holding Co. says it will keep publishing the magazine during the bankruptcy, and aims to be out of Chapter 11 within six months.

The circulation of Reader's Digest has declined because of competition from the Web -- shrinking by nearly two-thirds since 1995 -- but it is still one of the world's most-read magazines.

The New York company said late Sunday that it plans to cut its debt load by 80 percent during the restructuring, leaving it with about $100 million in debt.

Reader's Digest paid circulation fell 0.6 percent to 5.5 million at the end of last year, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. In 1995, Reader's Digest had circulation of more than 15 million.

The circulation-tracking company said Reader's Digest is the fifth-biggest U.S. consumer magazine by circulation, behind two AARP publications, Game Informer Magazine, and Better Homes and Gardens.

RDA's Reader's Digest Association Inc. filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2009 in the midst of a recession and the drop in advertising and circulation. The company emerged from in 2010 with less debt but has still struggled.

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