Having for some weeks played hard to get, embattled UK cable operator Telewest is to open talks with bondholders and US investment group Liberty Media about plans to exchange around $4 billion (€4.1bn; £2.6bn) in bonds for shares.

Liberty – the investment vehicle of cable entrepreneur John Malone – is Telewest’s biggest shareholder (with 25%), and is trying to strengthen its hand by buying bonds in advance of the exchange. However, a group of bondholders recently rejected its advances [WAMN: 19-Jun-02].

Given the suspicion between Liberty and its fellow bondholders, Telewest is likely to conduct separate talks with each group.

Negotiations, to commence when the cable firm’s banks give the green light, will be overseen by an executive committee and a panel of independent directors. The restructuring proposals will be voted on by the board minus the directors from Liberty.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff