IN&M sells its 18% share in Cashcade

IN&M: has sold its 18% stake in bingo operator Cashcade
IN&M: has sold its 18% stake in bingo operator Cashcade

LONDON - Independent News & Media, owner of the Independent newspaper, has sold off its 18.07% stake in bingo operator Cashcade for €15.3m as it looks to cut debts.

IN&M has disposed of the stake to bingo and gaming outfit Partygaming for an aggregate cash consideration of approximately €15.3m, net of costs. INM may also, subject to certain earnings targets being met, receive incremental payments in 2010 and 2011.

Cashcade runs a portfolio of bingo brands, including Foxy Bingo, Think Bingo and the free-to-play site Cheeky Bingo. IN&M said Cashcade had gross assets of £21.7m as at 31 December 2008 and reported profits of £7.5m in that year.

IN&M said proceeds from the sale will not be used for other purposes pending resolution of its ongoing discussions around the restructuring of its debts.

It is expected to be granted a further extension to its standstill agreement with lenders, according to a number of analysts familiar with the situation.

The publisher, which is looking to pay down its debt pile, has been locked in negotiations with its bondholders and banks over a €200m (£172m) bond repayment, originally due for repayment in May this year.

IN&M first agreed a standstill in May that ran until 26 June. The company, which also owns the Belfast Telegraph, then announced it had been extended to 24 July. The latest extension is likely to last four weeks, according to analysts.

As negotiations continue, the company, led by chief executive Gavin O'Reilly, has looked to pay down its debt and enhance the liquidity of the company.

Earlier this month, IN&M raised €22m after selling off 22 million shares of its stake in Indian media giant Jagran Prakashan.



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