Nine strikes debt deal, avoids collapse
Nine strikes debt deal, avoids collapse

UPDATE 1.30pm: Nine Entertainment has avoided administration, with its lenders taking control of the company after reaching a deal over its $3.3 billion debt.

A relieved-looking Nine chief executive David Gyngell emerged from a meeting of creditors in Sydney today to announce that "there is a deal" and the company, owner of the Nine Network, is now debt-free.

"We have a fully capitalised business," Mr Gyngell told reporters.

"All those doomsayers out there are going to have to eat their words.

"We have never had a more powerful balance sheet.

"We are ready to rock and roll for next year."

Nine owed $2.3 billion to US hedge funds Apollo and Oaktree and a further $1 billion to investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Each lender has taken a stake in the company in return for its debt, with the hedge funds taking the largest share.

Mr Gyngell said Goldman Sachs, whose debt ranked behind that of the hedge funds in priority for repayment, had received “a certain percentage of equity” in Nine.

"The rest of the company will be controlled by the hedge funds,” he told reporters.

Fairfax Media has reported that the hedge funds will control 95.5 per cent of Nine Entertainment.

The deal was completed after Mr Gyngell's wife, TV host Leila McKinnon, gave birth to the couple's first child, a boy named Edmund, in the early hours of this morning.

The West Australian

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