Demiroren's debt restructuring talks now cover $2 bln -sources

Australian dollars in Sydney, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING

ISTANBUL, Oct 4 (Reuters) – Demiroren Holding, Turkey’s largest media owner, is in talks with banks to restructure some $2 billion in loans, sources familiar with the talks said, more than previously reported as the focus has expanded to debt used to acquire media, lottery and energy assets,

The sources, who requested anonymity, told Reuters the talks could expand further to cover even more debt, taking into account interest.

Demiroren Holding did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the restructuring talks.

Pro-government Demiroren in 2018 paid $916 million for Hurriyet newspaper, broadcaster CNN Turk and other assets from Dogan Holding. The deal shifted the mainstream media overwhelmingly behind President Tayyip Erdogan.

Reuters has previously reported that Demiroren was in discussions to restructure up to $1.4 billion in loans.

It is in talks with Ziraat Bank to restructure $800 million, the amount of debt it took on to finance purchases in the media sector, three banking sources said.

The rest of the debt – around $1.2 billion to acquire lottery services and energy ventures – is being negotiated with eight or nine banks, including state lenders, the sources said.

Ziraat Bank declined to comment.

One of the sources said the holding company “has difficulty making money from its core businesses and this makes the restructuring difficult.”

Among the restructuring options under consideration are extending terms, adding a balloon payment, a “hair cut”, or switching debt from dollars to Turkish lira, a second banking source said.

A balloon payment could possibly bring about an asset sale but “nothing is clear yet, this person added.

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