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Wall Street worries about Cygnus

The bad news just keeps coming for traditional B2B publishers.

Credit rating agency S&P has lowered its outlook for Cygnus Business Media, a move that suggests a ratings downgrade is possible in the near future.
S&P, citing concerns about the publisher's debt load, changed its outlook on Cygnus and its parent company to negative from stable. At the same time S&P affirmed its its CCC+ credit rating on Cygnus.
So, to put this into simple English, S&P is suggesting that Cygnus' corporate credit rating -- which is already in the junk bond category -- may be too high.

The problem, according to a statement from S&P, is born of "concern over the company's significant maturities in 2009." That's a reference to some $157 million in debt that's due next year, according to Folio.

So just how worried is S&P?
Consider this: Cygnus is already in the lowest tier in S&P's ratings system -- the area called "highest risk." And there are only two rating steps lower than CCC in that tier: CC and C.
After that, the only rating left is D -- for companies in default.

Click here for an earlier story on junk-bond ratings and B2B publishing.

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