What the market is learning about Mary Berner is that she could make victims of the Titanic believe there was an upside to drowning.
No matter how she says it – promises, slogans, new logos – her fate and the fate of Cumulus will come down to a second bankruptcy and ending the long decline in revenue that lumbers on quarter after quarter.
It is likely that Cumulus will be the target of a takeover at some point now that it is out of bankruptcy. When it was mired in Chapter 11, Cumulus argued and received permission from the court to bar outside bids while they were trying to get their house in order.
The one thing that would make a takeover less likely – a hostile takeover, that is – is if they got their debt down and revenue up.
So in spite of the happy talk about the future of the company, Mary Berner is going to have to show in real terms that her management team that started the decline leading to bankruptcy is capable of stopping it on a dime.
Your guess is as good as anyone’s.
But assets will have to be sold or a second bankruptcy initiated that brings a slew of additional problems or else Cumulus 2.0 will be dead on arrival by next year at this time.
The painful process of selling assets will shock but here are the options on the table.