Malone's Liberty seeking control of cabler

LONDON — U.K. cabler Telewest has agreed to enter into discussions with its bondholders and major shareholder Liberty Media on how to restructure its £5.3 billion in ($8.1 billion) debt.

A majority of Telewest’s bondholders recently proposed a debt-for-equity swap to see the company out of its troubles (Daily Variety, June 17).

Meanwhile, John Malone’s Liberty, a 25% shareholder in Telewest, has so far bought up 16% of the cable operator’s bonds in bid to be in the driver’s seat when restructuring occurs. It is also reported that Microsoft is poised to sell its 24% stake in Telewest to Liberty.

In a letter to shareholders Thursday, Telewest said it was reviewing all options, but would begin talks once it received the OK to do so from its bankers.

NTL, the U.K.’s other cabler, is currently in the throws of restructuring its $17 billion debt. It has long been anticipated that Telewest and NTL will eventually merge.

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