Ion Media Networks Inc. said earlier this week that it has reduced more than $2.7 billion in debt and preferred stock as it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Florida-based Ion, formerly known as Paxson Communications Corp., operates 60 TV stations, including Wilmington-based WPPX-TV, Channel 61, which is expanding into the Philadelphia market, and WQPX, Channel 64, in the Wilkes-Barre-Scranton area.

The company, which filed for bankruptcy protection in May, citing cited more than $1 billion in debt, said it is now debt-free, with equity growth funding from owners that include Avenue Capital, Black Diamond Capital, and Trilogy Capital.

Secured creditors received 62.5 percent of the new stock in exchange for $150 million in financing, and the holders of $858 million in first-lien claims received 37.5 percent of the stock, Bloomberg News reported.

The plan was approved in Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan on Dec. 3, but could not be implemented until a temporary stay was vacated

"Emerging debt-free with $150 million in growth funding will allow us to further build our TV content brands, as well as develop the value of our digital spectrum and technology assets," Brandon Burgess, ION's chairman and chief executive officer, said Monday in a company release.    - Roslyn Rudolph