TV Producer Mediapro Gets a $71 Million Lifeline

Searchlight Capital Partners LP and Invesco Ltd. won support from Mediapro’s other creditors to inject fresh funds into the soccer TV producer, the first step in a restructuring deal that could see them taking over the company.

They were given the green light on Wednesday by other lenders to provide Mediapro a 60 million-euro ($71 million) bridge loan and to tweak the corporate structure of the group, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named discussing private information.

Searchlight and Invesco also got creditors’ backing for a restructuring plan that would allow them to take control of the business while canceling part of the debt, the people said. The lenders are still negotiating the details of the deal with the company, they said.

Officials at Searchlight and Mediapro declined to comment on the deal. A representative for Invesco wasn’t immediately available to comment.

Barcelona-based Mediapro, the producer of soccer league matches, films and shows for broadcasters, is seeking to bounce back after the pandemic disrupted sports and business events, recording a 215 million-euro loss in 2020.

The company even had to pay out 100 million euros after pulling out a multi-year contract with the top French soccer league last year. It got a reprieve from creditors to make some debt payment due in June until the end of this month.

The company’s owners include Chinese private equity firm Orient Hontai Capital and advertising giant WPP.

‘Double Luxco’

According to a letter sent by the company to creditors on July 6, Searchlight will provide 65% of the new funds and Invesco the remainder. The firm said it “may require additional funding to continue to operate as a going concern.”

As part of the bridge loan deal, the funds also won support from creditors to change Mediapro’s corporate structure to a “double Luxco,” transferring the debt issuing unit to a new holding company incorporated in Luxembourg. In the event of an insolvency, this type of structure typically provides greater protection to creditors compared to other jurisdictions.

The restructuring proposal includes converting into equity the entire 180 million euros of the firm’s second lien debt -- largely owned by Searchlight and Invesco -- and about 150 million euros of the first lien loans, as well as providing 150 million euros of new equity, Bloomberg reported last month.

Searchlight and Invesco are working with Lazard & Co Ltd as financial adviser and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP as legal adviser, according to the consent letter.

A spokeswoman for Lazard declined to comment, while a representative for Willkie Farr didn’t reply to a request for comment.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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