The company announced on Jan. 7 that it had made a prepayment of approximately $36.2 million in principal and accrued interest of its senior secured term loan facility.

As a result of this prepayment, the company reduced the outstanding principal amount under the term facility by $35.8 million, from $1.792 billion as of Nov. 19, 2019, to approximately $1.756 billion.

The debt prepayment was funded with excess cash on hand, including the proceeds from the sale of a local facility that was completed prior to year-end.

“We are pleased to have begun to pay down the debt facility. Reducing our leverage is a high priority for us,” said Michael Reed, Gannett chairman and CEO. “We continue to expect that real estate sales will enable us to accelerate our debt reduction plan. In addition to this recent sale, we have another $30 million of real estate sales under contract. We expect to share additional details around the size and timing of real estate sales when we announce fourth quarter earnings.”

The move follows GateHouse Media’s $1.4 billion purchase of Gannett, which was completed in late 2019. The merged company uses the Gannett name.

On Jan. 6., Gannett said that Alison “Ali” Engel is stepping down as chief financial officer of the company at the end of the first quarter to pursue other opportunities.

Gannett’s board of directors has started a process to identify someone to fill the role, USA Today reported.

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