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 New York company said late on Sunday it plans to cut its debt load by 80 per cent during the restructuring, leaving it with about $US100 million ($A98 million) in debt.
It said it has already reached agreements with its secured lender and more than 70 per cent of its secured noteholders. A group of its creditors have supplied $US45 million in new financing to help Reader's Digest go through the process as part of a $US105 million loan to repay existing bank debt.
Reader's Digest has also been selling off some of its assets. It sold its food website Allrecipes.com for $US175 million last year, and it sold its Every Day with Rachael Ray cooking magazine in late 2011. Both went to Meredith Corp, publisher of the Better Homes and Gardens magazine.
Reader's Digest paid circulation fell 0.6 per cent to 5.5 million at the end of last year, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. That was about where it stood after cutting its guaranteed circulation in 2009.
Besides Reader's Digest, the company publishes a food publication, Taste of Home, and has 21 brands globally.
The bankruptcy filing in the Southern District of New York covers the company's US businesses. It said its international operations are not part of the filing.
It said it is still looking for agreements to sell and license its international businesses, and expects to finalise some deals in coming weeks.