Avaya Creditor Franklin Said to Ask for Apollo, GSO Support

  • TPG and Silver Lake’s leveraged buyout debt crimps company
  • Franklin’s holdings include both first- and second-lien debt

A group of Avaya Inc. creditors led by Franklin Resources Inc. has approached other senior lenders, including Apollo Global Management LLC and Blackstone Group LP, about jointly negotiating a $6 billion debt restructuring, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Franklin held initial talks with Apollo and Blackstone Group’s credit arm GSO Capital Partners, which lead the first-lien debt holders, over pushing the struggling software and services provider to restructure its balance sheet, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. Teaming up would make it easier to reach an agreement among investors and result in a more focused effort when dealing with the company, said one of the people.

The talks came after the first-lien holders started urging Avaya, controlled by TPG Capital Management and Silver Lake Management, to cut debt in half because the interest burden has become unsustainable, the people said. The two private-equity firms acquired the Santa Clara, California-based company in a 2007 leveraged buyout.

Avaya has a $73 million interest payment due Sept. 1 on its $1.38 billion of 10.5 percent second-lien bonds due in 2021. Franklin held about a third of those securities at the end of June, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Franklin group’s holdings also overlap with GSO and Apollo in some of the first-lien debt, the people said.

Representatives for GSO, Silver Lake and TPG declined to comment. Representatives for Avaya, Franklin and Apollo didn’t immediately comment. 

Avaya is beset by dwindling revenue and pressure from cloud-based upstarts and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc. Investors had formed into two groups after Avaya said in May it was reviewing ways to deal with its debt and brought in Centerview Partners and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to advise. The company also has $616 million term loan that’s coming due next year, and Moody’s Investors Service said earlier this year that the company will likely struggle to repay.

Both groups of debt holders have enlisted advisers. PJT Partners Inc. and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is helping the first-lien group, and Rothschild & Co. and Stroock & Stroock & Lavan is working for the Franklin group.

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