Euro broadcaster wrangles debt in pact with TW and Ronald Lauder

Time Warner’s moving deeper into Europe as it agrees to lend $300 million to Central European Media and boost its stake to 40% or more in a series of transactions aimed at lowering the broadcaster’s debt.

CME said Monday that it will borrow the cash in three tranches and use it to fund tender offers to purchase up to $300 million in outstanding senior notes as part of new agreements with Time Warner and Ronald Lauder, its two biggest shareholders.

Time Warner has agreed to acquire 9.5 million CME shares, boosting its stake to 40%. Ronald Lauder’s RSL Capital will acquire 2 million shares. CME will use the proceeds of the stock sales to help pay off the money it’s borrowing.

CME can pre-pay the loans at any time. But if any of them remain outstanding for 180 days, Time Warner has the right to acquire up to 49.9% of CME using the balance of what’s due as payment.

Separately, CME said its net loss for the third quarter narrowed to $13.4 million from $21.1 million last quarter. Revenue dipped to $167 million from $173 million.

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