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SunEdison preparing to file for bankruptcy protection: WSJ

Solar panels of local mining company CAP, which were installed by SunEdison, are seen in the Atacama Desert, in this June 5, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Fabian Andres Cambero/Files

(Reuters) - SunEdison Inc (SUNE.N) is planning to file for bankruptcy protection in the coming weeks, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Shares of the solar energy company were down 42 percent at 25 cents in extended trading on Friday.

The solar energy company is preparing to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 and is in talks with two creditor groups for a loan to fund its operations during the process, the newspaper reported.

SunEdison, whose aggressive acquisition strategy has saddled it with almost $12 billion of debt, is at "substantial risk" of bankruptcy, one of its two publicly listed units warned on Tuesday.

The company's creditors are likely to take control of the company and its portfolio of power projects, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing the sources.

A spokesperson for Belmont, California-based SunEdison did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The newspaper reported that SunEdison has been meeting with creditors to negotiate a loan to see it through bankruptcy, but competition for the deal among lenders has delayed an agreement.

Senior bank lenders led by Deutsche Bank AG form one camp of lenders while the other comprises a group of creditors, most of which are hedge funds focused on distressed companies, that participated in a junior debt offering in January that raised about $725 million, the newspaper said.

The company, which has delayed filing its annual report twice, said this month it had identified material weaknesses in its financial reporting controls.

According to a loan agreement filed with regulators, SunEdison could breach a covenant if it does not file its annual report within 90 days after the end of each fiscal year - in this case, March 30.

The company has at least $1.4 billion in first-lien and second-lien debt, according to filings.

In addition, SunEdison is being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to see if it had exaggerated its liquidity position, the Journal reported on Monday.

Up to Friday's close, SunEdison's shares had dropped about 98 percent this year, valuing the company at $136.2 million.

(Reporting by Ramkumar Iyer in Bengaluru and Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)