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Sinclair Seeks Distressed Swap for Sports Bonds Sold Last Year

Claire Boston

(Bloomberg) -- Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. is asking holders of notes it sold less than a year ago to exchange them at deeply discounted prices for new securities with a higher coupon, according to a statement Tuesday.

The firm is offering holders of its $1.8 billion of 6.625% notes due 2027 new 12.75% secured securities due in 2026. Participants who swap their bonds by May 26 would receive $467 worth of new notes and $133 in cash for every $1,000 of principal they turn in.

The broadcaster is seeking to tame its balance sheet less than a year after it took on new debt to acquire regional sports networks from Walt Disney Co. That debt, sold out of an entity called Diamond Sports in July 2019, has plunged as Sinclair struggled to ink a deal with providers like Dish Network Corp. to carry the channels and the Covid-19 pandemic halted most live sports.

The bonds Sinclair is seeking to swap changed hands on Monday for 52.375 cents on the dollar, according to Trace bond pricing data. A slug of secured bonds it sold to fund the acquisition, which aren’t eligible for the exchange, are trading at around 68.75 cents.

Holders have until midnight on June 9 in New York to agree to the exchange. Those that swap their holdings by May 26 are eligible for an early participation premium.

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