Independent News and Media (INM) could go into the Irish equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the group’s second largest shareholder said at the weekend.
Denis O’Brien, who owns a 26 percent stake, said: “We’ll have to consider it. I am being very clear.”
But O’Brien said the costs of examinership would be prohibitive for the Irish company, which has a debt pile of around €1.4bn (£1.21bn). “I think that for the scale of the business, it just can’t afford it,” he said.
The media group has been in a long battle over its ailing financial situation and on Friday was forced to roll over a standstill deal with bondholders on a €200m senior bond until 27 August, the third extension in as many months.
O’Brien has said publicly that he would lend his support if the group was to launch a rights issue, but only if there was a plan in place which would ensure a return to value. Another option is to negotiate a debt for equity swap with lenders.
O’Brien has been vocal about the company’s need to dispose of loss-making assets, including the Independent paper. INM recently made €37m from selling a stake in an online gambling business Cashcade.