Yell gets the go ahead for fundraising

YELLOW Pages publisher?Yell was yesterday given the green light by creditors over plans to refinance its massive &pound;3.8bn debt mountain. <br /><br />The deal enables Yell to press ahead with a rights issue worth at least &pound;500m.<br /><br />The company&rsquo;s shares have been extremely volatile in recent weeks, after the firm was forced to extend its deadline three times before getting 95 per cent of lenders on board.<br /><br />On Friday the shares soared by 15 per cent after Yell said it only needed two more creditors to back the plans, a watermark it hit yesterday.<br /><br />&ldquo;We are naturally very grateful to all our lenders for what is virtually unanimous support and look forward to announcing details of the planned equity raise in the near future,&rdquo; said John Davis, Yell&rsquo;s chief financial officer. <br /><br />Yell&rsquo;s difficulties in getting lenders to back the refinancing are unlikely to jeopardise the planned rights issue, said Sam Hart, an analyst at Charles Stanley.<br /><br />&ldquo;If Yell proceeds with the rights issue then they should get the money they want,&rdquo; Hart said. <br /><br />The company&rsquo;s refinancing deal amends the terms of the company&rsquo;s debt, extends the maturity of its loans to 2014 and relaxes covenants on its borrowing. <br /><br />In exchange, lenders will receive higher interest rates.<br /><br />The stock closed down three per cent at 49.7p.<br /><br /><strong>NICK JANSA<br />DEUTSCHE BANK<br /></strong><br />YELL&rsquo;s agent bank is HSBC, while Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan Chase were additional debt advisors and Rothschild acts as the media group&rsquo;s financial adviser. It is understood that all of the above will continue to advise Yell on its forthcoming equity issue, with the equity teams taking the reins from the debt teams.<br /><br />Numerous debt experts from each firm were involved in the lengthy process of restructuring Yell&rsquo;s debt, and getting agreement from around 300 creditors across 1,000 lending institutions &ndash; a task Yell chief executive John Condron described as a &ldquo;huge logistical exercise&rdquo;.<br /><br />The Deutsche Bank team was led by the bank&rsquo;s head of European leveraged debt capital, Nick Jansa. Nick joined Deutsche Bank in London in 1995, working initially in structured finance before moving into capital markets. <br /><br />At the end of 2000, he moved to New York where he spent five years focusing on the US leveraged finance market before returning to London at the end of 2005. <br /><br />He has broad experience across a number of jurisdictions in Europe and North America and has originated, structured and syndicated a significant number of corporate acquisition financings, large sponsor driven leveraged buyouts, and more general refinancings.