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Affinity refinances $144M in debt

By   /   Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010  /   Comments Off on Affinity refinances $144M in debt

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Ventura-based Affinity Group, which faces nearly $700 million in debt payments in coming years, closed a deal for a new $144 million loan on March 3 to refinance debt due at the end of this month.

Affinity Group is the owner of the nation’s largest network of recreational vehicle and outdoor networks, magazines and clubs, as well as Camping World, an aftermarket R.V. store with 75 U.S. locations. In December, Affinity Group announced it had received a $70 million private equity investment.

Affinity triggered a credit-rating downgrade in August when it missed an interest payment and has been in talks with creditors.

“As we begin to exit a major financial downturn, this financing puts us in a strong position to capitalize on new revenue growth opportunities and continue our commitment to leadership in the outdoor recreation marketplace,” Affinity Group Chief Executive Officer Mike Schneider said in a release.

Affinity Group is part of the business empire built by Montecito resident Stephen Adams. Adams also owned Ventura-based Affinity Bank, which was seized by federal regulators last August after losses in its real-estate-heavy loan portfolio sapped its capital reserves.

Adams is believed to be the anonymous donor who defaulted last year on a $75 million gift he made to Westmont College in 2006. His office has declined multiple requests from the Business Times to comment on the donation.

Adams has publicly confirmed that he was behind a $100 million donation to the Yale University School of Music. That gift remains on track, Yale said.

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