LONDON Lenders to British directories firm hibu HIBU.L, formerly known as Yell, have finalized a steering committee to lead restructuring talks on the company's 2 billion pound ($3.18 billion) debt.
Alcentra, GE Capital, Gruss Asset Management, Blackstone's credit asset manager GSO, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) and Soros Fund Management are the lenders making up the committee, a person close to the company's restructuring said on Monday.
The committee hired Houlihan Lokey as financial and Linklaters as legal advisor, the person said.
Hibu declined to comment. It had said on Friday it obtained approval from lenders to waive its leveraged covenant testing to continue the restructuring talks, which kicked off in May when the company hired Goldman Sachs and Greenhill as advisors.
Lenders are bracing themselves for losses on the debt, which is trading at steep discounts in secondary markets. Hibu's euro-denominated term loan B was quoted at 28.6 percent of face value, according to Thomson Reuters LPC data.
Some lenders, which bought into the debt at a discount, will be pushing for a debt-for-equity swap, banking sources said.
Like other directory publishers, hibu has struggled to stem the slide in their print businesses and pare huge debt loads, as more people turn to internet-based groups such as Google (GOOG.O) to find local listings.
Yell's debt was built up through a series of acquisitions, including the 3.3 billion euro ($4.2 billion) purchase of a Spanish directories business in 2006.
Since then, Yell underwent a comprehensive refinancing and restructuring in 2009, a covenant reset and amendment in 2011 as well as a debt buyback this year.
($1 = 0.6296 pound = 0.7933 euro)
(Reporting by Isabell Witt; Editing by Dan Lalor)