Private equity-backed Seat Pagine cedes control to lenders


Seat Pagine Gialle, the Italian directories company bought out by CVC, BC Partners, Permira and Investitori Associati almost a decade ago, has ceded control to its lenders in the latest debt-for-equity swap to hit the market in recent months.

Seat Pagine, which had struggled under the weight of €2.67bn of debt , has converted €1.3bn worth of bonds into shares in a deal that will see bondholders take a 90 per cent stake in the company.

The bonds had previously been held in a holding company called Lighthouse, although new shares will be merged into Seat Pagine. The current owners will retain a 10 per cent stake in the business.

All members of the Seat Pagine Gialle board of directors have resigned.

Seat Pagine was bought out in 2003 by a consortium of investors comprising BC Partners, Permira, CVC and Investitori for about €3.03bn.

BC Partners sold its stake in the company in 2008.

Seat Pagine has seen its revenues plummet in recent years due to the emergence of online business models in the directories space.

A €200m rights issue three years ago failed to bolster its balance sheet. The company was eventually rescued in a restructuring deal in November last year.

The deal marks the latest European debt-for-equity swap by a company struggling to cope with debt piled onto it during the buyout boom years.

In June Blackstone ceded control of debt-ridden German plastics manufacturer Klöckner Pentaplast to a consortium of junior creditors led by Strategic Value Partners.

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