NTL in salvage talks
LONDON - NTL executives are set to meet today to discuss a restructuring plan, as investors in the foundering cable company look set to write off £4.1bn in debt.
Yesterday, it was reported that the sale of the company's transmitter business and European assets had been delayed. The sale of the NTL mast business was originally set to raise £2bn for the group -- which it needs to pay off massive debts -- but it had only been offered between £1.1bn and £1.2bn for the assets. The company's debts total £12bn.
The move has forced NTL to halt its expansion plans and instead focus on increasing spend from existing customers rather than pulling in new ones. NTL has around 8.4m customers in Europe. It has also sparked further talk of a merger with rival cable firm Telewest.
Now NTL's board, based in New York, will be discussing a new business plan for the company, which could involve shareholders -- of which France Telecom is the biggest -- writing off debt in advance of an exchange of debt for equity next year.
NTL's share price, which rallied on Friday to a high of 84 cents as news of a debt restructuring hit the market, closed down by 10.1% at 71 cents.
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