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PBL shrinks its debt mountain

PBL has managed to pull off a deal on its debt mountain. The owner of the Nine Network’s east coast stations and ACP Magazines had been facing major difficulties with debts of around $4.25bn.

But majority owner CVC has agreed to put around $335m into the company. The deal now leaves James Packer’s Consolidated Media with just a tiny holding in the company once dominated by his father Kerry Packer.

Mumbrella understands that although the debt demands will remain tough, the deal now leaves the group in good shape, with nineMSN in particular well ahead of budget.

UPDATE: In an email to staff obtained by Mumbrella, CEO Ian Law dismisses the issue as “background noise”.  He says:

 “The reality is that the businesses within PBL Media have held up very well despite the dislocation of the global financial system and resultant lack of confidence.”

He goes on: “The results this year also reflect the hard work done to try and get ahead of the economic cycle to reduce our cost base. We moved quickly and decisvely to reduce operating  expenses in a whole range of areas. This has been very difficult but we have worked hard to be fair.”

Among the deepest cuts so far have been within ACP’s marketing deparmtent, which has been virtually outsourced. Law tells staff: “We have endeavoured wherever possible to hold our staffing numbers in the creative areas of our business such as editorial and advertising, and programming.”

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