CHANNEL Nine, Ticketek and Sydney's Allphones Arena could end up in the hands of hedge funds and Goldman Sachs if a rescue plan for its debt-laden owners is accepted.
Nine Entertainment Company's owners, CVC Asia Pacific, are struggling to find $2.8 billion of debt due to a hedge fund syndicate in five months. And a further $1 billion due in April 2014 to a Goldman Sachs-run mezzanine debt fund.
Mezzanine-debt ranks behind senior lenders but generally gives investors a higher return in exchange for taking a bigger risk.
But Goldman Sachs planned that CVC could be relieved of the debt if it agrees to hand over 70 per cent ownership of Nine to its lenders. Along with the television station and ticketing service, Nine Entertainment owns half of website ninemsn and, until last week, 52 magazines including Women's Weekly, Cleo and Zoo Weekly.
Last week, UBS hosted a call for parties owed money by CVC Asia Pacific. Over the weekend a proposal drafted by Goldman Sachs with CVC's co-operation was sent to senior debt holders for consideration. They are yet to respond.
The proposal would see hedge funds including Oaktree Capital and Apollo Global Management take a 70 per cent stake in Nine Entertainment while Goldman Sachs and CVC take the remainder.
Senior debt holders are set to receive $525 million from the Australian Consolidated Press sale to German media company Bauer.