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BlackRock, Fidelity Form Argentina Bondholder Group Ahead of Talks

Ben Bartenstein and Jorgelina do Rosario

(Bloomberg) -- Some of Argentina’s largest creditors are forming a bondholder group as South America’s second-largest economy teeters on the edge of default.

Money managers including BlackRock Inc. and Fidelity Investments launched a committee focused on the nation’s sovereign debt, according to people familiar with the matter. White & Case LLP is legal adviser, the people said. White & Case’s Ian Clark, a veteran restructuring adviser, visited Buenos Aires this week for talks with the government, one of the people said.

Spokespeople at BlackRock and Fidelity declined to comment. A representative at White & Case didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The group has assembled as Alberto Fernandez’s administration enters a critical stage of its debt negotiation plan. The government is meeting with officials from the International Monetary Fund this week and plans on picking financial advisers by the end of February.

Lazard, Citi Among Firms Vying for Argentina Debt Adviser Role

While bondholders have formed other creditor committees around the country’s debt, this latest group could be a powerful force based on its combined holdings. BlackRock and Fidelity both rank among the six biggest reported holders of the country’s sovereign notes, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

On Tuesday, Argentina’s government said it wouldn’t make a local bond payment on time, declaring it won’t be “held hostage” by foreign investors demanding specific conditions to participate in a bond swap. Last week, Economy Minister Martin Guzman warned that the nation can’t make interest payments to creditors much longer.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ben Bartenstein in New York at bbartenstei3@bloomberg.net;Jorgelina do Rosario in Buenos Aires at jdorosario@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Carolina Wilson at cwilson166@bloomberg.net, Carolina Millan, Daniel Cancel

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