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Nine's creditors return to the bargaining table

THE threat of Nine Entertainment's collapse has brought the media group's creditors back to the bargaining table this morning for the first time since negotiations broke down late last month.

Nine chief David Gyngell and chairman Peter Bush were scheduled to convene a conference call this morning in an attempt to get the two different classes of lenders to agree on a valuation of the company.

Mr Gyngell and Mr Bush are expected to put a proposal to the parties that is hoped to bring them closer to an agreement on valuation of the Nine Network owner, but the best Nine's directors can hope for at this stage is that today's talks are encouraging enough to trigger another meeting later this week, or early next week. If progress is not made with negotiations soon, Nine's board will have increasing trouble maintaining that the company is a going concern.

The company admitted in its accounts last year that its solvency depends on a debt restructure being implemented before $2.3 billion worth of senior debt falls due in February.

And if talks fail to produce a debt restructure? ''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 company said.

The board may be forced to appoint administrators - a point that Mr Gyngell and Mr Bush are expected to emphasise to the company's lenders today.