Bid to rescue Nine from receivership
The picture is unclear for Channel Nine. Photo: Gabriele Charlotte
THE future of Nine Entertainment remained uncertain last night as creditors continued talks designed to save the Nine network owner from receivership.
Hedge funds that control $2.7 billion of Nine's senior debt are attempting to negotiate a restructure of the company with the network's private equity owners, CVC, and Goldman Sachs which represents holders of $1.1 billion lower-ranked debts.
Hedge funds Apollo Global Management and Oaktree Capital, which own more than half of Nine's senior debt, want a debt-for-equity swap that would give them 100 per cent of Nine.
Goldman Sachs, representing the lower-ranking mezzanine debt holders who are owed $1.1 billion, are proposing a deal that would give senior lenders 70 per cent of Nine while Goldies' mezzanine debt holders get the remaining 30 per cent. If the two sides do not reach an agreement by next month there will not be enough time to settle a deal before the first tranche of debt falls due in February next year.
CVC must repay $2.8 billion of debt by February and a further $1 billion a year later, but a breach of its quarterly debt covenants could trigger immediate payment of all the debt, according to Nine's financial accounts from last year.
''In those circumstances, the assets of the group may not be realised and liabilities may not be discharged in the normal course of business,'' the accounts said.
James Packer severed the Packer family's long-standing links to the media assets in 2007 when he sold most of Nine, and its related assets, to CVC Asia Pacific which paid him $1.46 billion cash and took on $3.6 billion in debt.
The private equity firm has now lost all the $2 billion it injected into Nine.