Private equity group CVC Asia Pacific has reportedly approached Nine Entertainment’s lenders in recent weeks to begin the long process of refinancing the media group’s $3.6 billion debt.
The Australian reports that CVC’s local boss, Adrian MacKenzie, has approached Nine’s lenders about renegotiating the television, magazine, ticketing and digital group’s $2.8bn in senior debt and $800 million in mezzanine debt, which must be repaid by February 2013. CVC is said to be discussing pushing back the deadline by up to two years.
Since 2006 CVC has invested $1.9bn in Nine, formerly PBL Media, in a series of transactions.
Speculation has for months suggested Nine may list itself on the sharemarket, but the possibility of such a move has been quashed, as Nine’s weak performance would be unlikely to translate in a showing on the stock market that would allow it to pay back its lenders.
There is speculation that James Packer could be interested in buying back into Nine by investing in the debt if it were put up for sale, but sources close to the process said that was incorrect.