By Stephen Aldred
HONG KONG Dec 5 BNP Paribas and
Commonwealth Bank of Australia have sold a total of
around A$130 million ($133 million) of senior debt in global
buyout fund CVC Asia Pacific's Nine Entertainment TV
network, with hedge funds buying most of the debt, three sources
The sales increase the votes held by hedge funds, ahead of a
looming vote by lenders on whether to extend A$2.6 billion of
debt for another two-and-a-half years, the sources said.
BNP sold around A$90 million of the debt while CBA sold
around A$37 million, and both sales were at around 87 percent of
par, the three sources said.
BNP and CVC declined to comment.
A spokeswoman for CBA said the bank did not comment on
Nine is one of the largest private-equity owned companies in
Australia, bought by CVC at the height of the buyout boom in
CVC spent about A$5.3 billion in debt and equity in
acquiring the company from media baron James Packer.
Hedge funds could hold up to 40 percent of the senior debt
in Nine, loans traders and bankers who own the senior debt told
A report in the Australian Financial Review said hedge funds
Oaktree Capital, Canyon Partners and Anchorage Advisors now hold
more than A$500 million of Nine's senior debt, about a fifth of
CVC last month asked for a two-and-a-half year
extension on about A$2.6 billion in senior debt on the asset.
An extension on the deadline would give CVC time to work out
how to restructure the debt, and perhaps allow for stronger
growth in advertising revenues in the Australian television
business after a cyclical slowdown.
Banking sources have said they do not expect the majority of
Nine's senior lenders to approve a restructure of the debt at
The hedge funds could hold out to swap some debt for equity
to gain greater control of the Nine business, one source said.
In addition to the senior debt, Nine has about A$900 million
in mezzanine debt which falls due in April 2014.
The bulk of the mezzanine debt is held by Goldman Sachs
, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
CVC had to shelve plans for a multibillion-dollar float of
Nine earlier this year as equity markets turned sour, and
advertising revenue growth slowed in line with weak consumer