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Charter playing banks against bondholders?

Tue, 07/21/2009 - 8:35am
Brian Santo

Charter Communications is finally in court making its case for its Chapter 11 reorganization plan, which is facing growing opposition.

The plan aims to eliminate more than $8 billion in debt, while also reinstating about $11 billion of its senior bank debt, and maintain Chairman Paul Allen’s financial control of the company.

Charter’s proposed plan would give Allen the right to appoint four of the reorganized company's 11 directors, while private equity firm Apollo Global Management could appoint two, and Oaktree Capital Management and Franklin Advisers would be able to appoint one director each, Reuters reported.

Apollo, Oaktree and Franklin Advisers are among Charter’s biggest bondholders – the debt the reorganization plan aims to reinstate.

Charter’s lender banks object. They include JPMorgan and Wells Fargo, which hold much of the debt to be eliminated. The banks believe that they’re being played by Charter’s bondholders.

“Bondholders can’t engineer a takeover by putting the company into bankruptcy and using our money to finance their takeover,” JPMorgan attorney Peter Pantaleo said, as quoted by the Bloomberg news service.

The case is being heard in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York.

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