INM buys yet another debt standstill agreement

Independent News & Media has negotiated a further extension to the standstill agreement with its banks and other lenders it originally agreed earlier this year.

The publisher, which owns the Independent and the Independent on Sunday, agreed a restructuring deal with its creditors last month in relation to the €200m bond the company was originally due to repay in May.

The extension of the standstill agreement, the latest of seven such agreements, will give the Dublin-based INM time to finalise the completion of the restructuring process.

The agreement, which was due to expire on Friday, will now run until 23 December.

INM issued a statement late on Friday saying it had sufficient funding in place to meet all working capital requirements during the standstill period.

It said: “Implementation of the standstill required agreement from in excess of 75 per cent of the bondholders by value and 84.75 per cent of the bondholders by value have now so agreed.

“Further documentation and information on the timetable for implementation of the restructuring will be issued in due course.”

INM management, lead by chief executive Gavin O’Reilly, has been engaged in lengthy efforts to safeguard the future of the business and its publications, including the Independent and the Independent on Sunday.

The restructuring plan but forward by O’Reilly, and agreed in principle by the board, has led to the sale of some assets to pay down debt and will see the firm’s creditors take a significant stake in the company, drastically reducing stakes currently held in the business.

A long running feud between the O’Reilly family, the biggest shareholders in INM, and Denis O’Brien, who holds the second biggest stake, threatened to destabilise the business as O’Brien sought a different restructuring plan and the sale of the group’s London-based titles.

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