LONDON, March 14 Dutch TV production company Endemol faces being taken over by its creditors after US hedge fund Apollo acquired a further chunk of the company's 2 billion euro ($2.79 billion) debt pile earlier this month, banking and restructuring sources said.
Apollo acquired more than 600 million euros of first lien Endemol debt from RBS, Centerbridge, Lehman and Goldman Sachs in the European secondary market, according to one restructuring source.
This increases the hedge fund's stake in the business from under one third to more than two thirds bankers said, allowing the hedge fund to potentially take control of the company through a debt for equity swap.
Apollo declined to comment. Endemol could not be immediately reached for comment.
Endemol has been struggling to find a solution to its large debt pile for the last two years after creditors failed to reach an agreement over a potential restructuring of the debt.
In March 2012, Apollo bought out Endemol's biggest lender at the time, Barclays, in a bid to push through a debt restructuring and pave the way for a potential sale of the business.
Apollo paid 58 cents in the dollar for the debt after the UK bank refused to agree a debt for equity swap. Since then talks have reached stalemate.
At the time, Apollo proposed a debt for equity swap which would cut Endemol's debt to 500 million euros, split between a 400 million euro senior loan facility and a 100 million euro junior facility.
It is expected that Apollo will table a very similar plan now.
Endemol's debt is currently made up of around 1.4 billion euros of senior debt, 350 million euros of second lien and 250 million euros of mezzanine.
Goldman Sachs, Italian media group Mediaset and investment firm Cyrte acquired Endemol in 2007 for 2.6 billion euros. ($1 = 0.7180 Euros) (Editing by Christopher Mangham)