December 4, 2017 / 10:21 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-Four Seasons owner asks bondholders to take over care homes group

(Adds “no comment” from H/2)

LONDON, Dec 4 (Reuters) - The owner of British care homes operator Four Seasons has offered to hand over the business to its bondholders for a nominal sum, days before an interest payment deadline that could push Four Seasons into administration.

Private equity group Terra Firma said on Monday it had offered to transfer its interest in the company that runs 343 care homes with some 17,000 residents and 26,000 employees with immediate effect.

The offer comes ahead of a Dec. 15 deadline for Four Seasons to make an interest payment on bonds, which the board of the company has said it might not be able to meet.

U.S. investor H/2 Capital Partners owns the majority of the bonds, having bought into the debt at a discounted price since 2015. It declined to comment on Monday’s statement.

The two investors have been working to agree on a standstill agreement meaning the interest payments would not be due on Dec. 15.

Terra Firma, founded by financier Guy Hands, accused H/2 of being unwilling to engage with the private equity investor going as far as blocking emails and declining meeting requests, according to the statement.

Terra Firma is also locked in a legal dispute with H/2, with court hearings scheduled for 2018, about the future of 24 care homes that sit outside Four Seasons.

Terra Firma said on Monday its offer related to Four Seasons was subject to assurances from bondholders that these 24 homes would be protected.

H/2 Capital Partners is an institutional investment manager focused on credit, real estate and related markets, with approximately $14 billion in assets under management. (Reporting by Dasha Afanasieva; Editing by Mark Potter and David Evans)

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