Ten refinancing deal to go ahead

McLennan says board, shareholders back new arrangement to be voted on at AGM.

Ten Network's (TEN) chief executive officer Hamish McLennan expects a new $200 million debt refinancing deal for the broadcaster will get the go-ahead from shareholders.

Mr McLennan told Business Spectator that the four-year, "covenant-lite" Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ltd loan facility has the backing of major shareholders including media heavyweights Bruce Gordon, James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch, and is likely to be approved at the group's annual general meeting on December 18.

"The board and the major shareholders have ... confirmed and support the strategy that we’ve got for the business, and they’re backing it up with a guarantee," Mr McLennan said.

"And the new refinancing facility that we expect to be approved at the December AGM gives me great confidence that when we kick off next year we’ll be in good shape."

Mr McLennan said while the financing arrangement was not "typical", the absence of a takeover move from the major shareholders showed they were committed to the network and its new strategy.

"The way I look at it is that those shareholders who all understand media realised that the old strategy was not working and the new one has a very good chance at succeeding, and they believe in it," Mr McLennan said.

"The way in which the deal has been constructed is very fair to Ten, and against any other given comparable, this is a fair deal for all."

The new debt structure would repay and cancel Ten’s existing debt arrangements with CBA, including an undrawn $80 million loan facility and $150 million United States private placement notes, maturing in December 2015.

Mr McLennan said Ten's strategic overhaul included key appointments such as Peter Meakin to its news and current affairs division, as well as a focus on new demographics and an emphasis on live sporting events.

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