Oz network reaches deal with investors

SYDNEY — It’s been a tense week for Australia’s embattled Nine Network, which met with its major investors over the past few days in an effort to stave off bankuptcy.

Parent company Nine Entertainment’s once top-rating network, eclipsed by Seven in the past seven years, owes $A2.3 billion ($2.37 billion) to U.S. hedge funds Apollo and Oaktree, and $1 billion to Goldman Sachs.

The web, sagging in ratings and losing the ad revenue race to its rival, could no longer service debt payments, due in February, so it was a case of strike a debt-for-equity swap or go under.

The parties decided how to carve up the equity behind closed doors but it is believed the hedge funds got 95.5% of Nine with Goldman taking the remaining 4.5%

This gives the web time to regroup before the inevitable sell-off or flotation.

Nine topper David Gyngell was positive after a stressful two days, where he not only saved the network but also took time out for the birth of his first child with wife Leila McKinnon on Wednesday morning.

Gyngell said in a statement,”Nine’s back! And back in a huge way with zero debt, which is the best possible news for our stakeholders, Nines viewers, our clients, our partners and our staff.”

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