Yellow Pages is given to lenders in a £2bn swap

 
Michael Bow
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YELLOW Pages owner Hibu was repossessed yesterday after lenders finally agreed to take control of the debt-laden business.

The iconic listings directory, which floated on the London Stock Exchange a decade ago, suspended trading after striking a deal with a committee of lenders to turn over ownership of the business to its 300 or so creditors.

Long-suffering shareholders, who have seen shares plummet from a high of 603p in 2007 to just 0.17p yesterday, have been wiped out. Shares stopped trading yesterday and will delist when the transaction is signed off later this year.

Chairman Bob Wigley and the rest of the non-executive members of the boardroom will leave the company.

A new chairman will be installed by the lenders.

Loss-making Hibu had a debt pile of £2.3bn, equivalent to the GDP of the Maldives. Owners of the debt will take control of the business in a debt-for-equity swap.

Debts will be reduced to £580m in the form of five year senior secured debt and lenders will own a further £920m in ten year payment in kind notes, which will convert to stock later.

It follows more than a year of talks between a committee of lenders, representing about 30 per cent of Hibu’s debts, which includes George Soros’s Soros Fund Management, Blackstone’s credit arm GSO, and Deutsche Bank.

Hibu chief executive Mike Pocock met with other debtors to sell the plans yesterday.

The restructuring is expected to be signed off in September.