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KKR takes on British care home operator Four Seasons’ debt

13 Feb 2012

The distressed debt arm of KKR has bought a significant chunk of the debt owed by British care home operator Four Seasons, fuelling speculation that the global private equity major could be looking to take control of the company.

According to the Sunday Times, the news follows talks between shareholders over a restructuring of the company’s finances. Four Seasons is seeking fresh equity and debt ahead of loan covenants due in September, when £780m of its debt will mature.

Four Seasons, which owns 500 care homes that house around 25,000 residents, became the largest care home operator after Blackstone-backed Southern Cross controversially collapsed last year.

Although the group expects to raise a sizeable amount of cash to repay the debt, a shortfall of between £100m and £150m is expected, which will hopefully raised by existing shareholders, including Royal Bank of Scotland, which owns a 40 per cent stake. The Qatar Investment Authority also owns a significant stake in the business.

The alternative to this would be that KKR could launch a rival restructuring plan that would see the firm wrest control of the company, a move that would be significantly bolstered by its ownership of a large amount of Four Seasons’ debt.

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