FT: Clear Channel Confident of Lender Agreement

(Reuters) – Clear Channel Communications Inc is confident of reaching an agreement with lenders who are threatening to turn down a proposed debt exchange with the radio and outdoor advertising group, the Financial Times said, citing the firm’s international business head.

The recently appointed chief executive of Clear Channel International, William Eccleshare, told the paper in an interview: “I’ve clearly done my due diligence and I believe it’s a very sound situation.”

The exchange offer, in which Clear Channel Outdoor could repay a $2.5 billion debt to its parent company, has yet to be formalised, but some senior creditors says they will resist it and hope a breach of the company’s loan agreements gives them control of the group’s equity at a significant discount, the paper said.

Eccleshare also played down the speculation in the industry that Clear Channel could seek to lighten its $20 billion debt load by selling its international outdoor advertising business, the paper said.

“I’ve had a lot of conversations with the private equity partners and I genuinely believe my appointment reflects their commitment and confidence in this business,” Eccleshare told the paper, adding that nobody had discussed a possible sale with him.

Clear Channel was acquired last July in a $17.9 billion takeover by private equity funds Thomas H. Lee Partners [THL.UL] and Bain Capital. (Reporting by Esha Dey in Bangalore; editing by Simon Jessop)