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Lenders give INM a break

<!--StartFragment-->TROUBLED newspaper publisher Independent News &amp; Media (INM) said yesterday it had agreed a grace period from lenders to renegotiate a &euro;200m (&pound;177m) bond.<br /><br />The owner of the Independent and Independent on Sunday said it now has until 26 June to hammer out a repayment deal on its senior debt, which was due for payment yesterday.<br /><br />The group has also secured an additional &euro;15m of working capital to see it through the period. The cash will be repaid from asset disposals.<br /><br />&ldquo;The standstill is necessary to facilitate ongoing negotiations between key stakeholders in relation to the group&rsquo;s financial restructuring,&rdquo; the company said in a statement.<br /><br />The deal means that INM&rsquo;s lenders cannot take action to enforce any payment claim against the group during the &ldquo;standstill period&rdquo;.<br /><br />Dublin-based INM &ndash; which owns newspapers, radio stations and advertising groups in Britain, Ireland, South Africa, Asia, Australia &ndash; unveiled a &euro;159.4m loss last month as it has been hit hard by a collapse in advertising as a result of the global recession.<br /><br />The group, which has built up a debt pile of &euro;1.4bn, expects to raise &euro;100-150m from the sale of its price comparison website Verivox, gaming software firm Cashcade and its South African outdoor advertising business by the end of the third quarter. <!--EndFragment-->