ProSieben Owners Eye Ways To Cut Debt

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Private equity firms KKR and Permira are mulling ways to cut debt from their purchase of commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat1 (PSMG_p.DE), sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.

Without a reorganisation of finances of their Lavena unit, which holds their ProSieben stake, the unit faced possible financing bottlenecks next year, several persons familiar with the situation said on Thursday, adding that investment bank Houlihan Lokey had been hired as an adviser.

The two private equity firms parked their majority stake in ProSieben at Lavena, along with up to 1.8 billion euros ($2.43 billion) in debt resulting from the takeover of the broacaster.

Their stake in ProSieben has lost more than 90 percent of its value over the past 12 months and the broadcaster will pay no dividend for 2008, creating a problem for Lavena.

The firms are mulling options such as injecting fresh capital into Lavena or repurchasing part of the company’s debt, which is now quoted at a fraction of its nominal value, the sources said.

KKR and Permira declined comment.