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Court rules in UPC favor

Cabler OK to proceed with debt restructure

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a creditor’s appeal that held up Netherlands-based United Pan Europe Communications’ badly needed debt restructuring for a year.

UPC, Europe’s largest cable operator, promptly announced that it had emerged from Chapter 11 proceedings in Holland and was putting the finishing touches on its debt restructuring.

It added that the new financial holding company UGC Europe was expected to be listed on the Nasdaq in the U.S. on Sept. 3 and that Sept. 4 would be the last day of trading for UPC ordinary shares A on the Euronext Amsterdam.

Intercomm Holdings (ICH) had attempted to block an agreement by Dutch shareholders that backed the restructuring, and when an appeals court ruled in UPC’s favor, ICH took the action to the high court.

That plan, approved by the majority of UPC bondholders, is a debt-for-equity swap with UnitedGlobalCom, UPC’s parent company, that would help eliminate a e10.7 billion ($11.6 billion) debt UPC had incurred in a buying spree of cable operations several years ago when it was trying to build up its pan-Euro net.

The court ruling had been expected after the Dutch Attorney General’s Office filed an opinion stating that the appeal was without merit. While the office is independent, the high court gives great weight to its decisions.

John Malone’s Liberty Media announced this month that it would acquire full operating and equity control of UnitedGlobalCom.

ICH was the parent company of cable company Intercomm France. UPC acquired the subsid in 1999, leaving ICH holding minority shares in what became UPC France.