* Nine management puts forward new plan, seeks compromise
* Senior debt of A$2.2 billion falls due in February
* Deal could take months to finalise
By Victoria Thieberger and Narayanan Somasundaram
MELBOURNE/SYDNEY, Oct 9 (Reuters) - CVC Capital PartnersLtd's beleaguered Australian television network Ninehas put forward a new proposal to senior lenders to restructuresome $3.2 billion in debt, three sources familiar with thenegotiations said on Tuesday.
It is the first time that Nine Entertainment Co'smanagement has put forward its own plan to try and reach acompromise between the lenders and prevent Nine from fallinginto the hands of receivers, the people said, speaking oncondition of anonymity.
The lenders are discussing a debt-for-equity swap that wouldgive them control of the network and any deal is expected towipe out CVC's $1.8 billion in equity in the business -- thelargest ever loss on a single private-equity deal in Asia.
The people declined to provide details about the freshproposal from Nine management, saying that no agreement had beenreached and none was expected on Tuesday.
CVC and Goldman Sachs, which have had one plan for adebt-for-equity swap rejected by hedge funds that own most ofthe network's senior debt, declined to comment.
CVC paid A$5.3 billion in cash and debt for Nine in twodeals during at the peak of the buyout boom in 2006-2008,overloading on cheap debt just before the global financialcrisis hit.
Since then, advertising revenues have collapsed across themedia sector, slashing profits at Nine and rival TV networks.
Nine Entertainment, one of the biggest private equity-ownedcompanies in Australia, has assets including the Channel Ninefree-to-air network; ticketing agency Ticketek; and a 50 percentstake in online site ninemsn.com.
Nine owes A$2.2 billion to senior lenders -- mostly rivalprivate equity firms and hedge funds that include Apollo GlobalManagement and Oaktree Capital Group that boughtthe debt from original bank lenders on the secondary market.
The debt must be repaid by a February deadline, andnegotiations are going close to the wire for a complex deal thatwould take some months to finalise.
"They (management) want to get this done as soon aspossible," said one source, adding that a deal would providecertainty to the network so it can line up programming for 2013.
If Nine does fall into receivership, the receivers will sellparts or whole of the business to repay debt owed to securedcreditors.
Funds managed by Goldman Sachs own another A$975million in mezzanine debt, which is due to be repaid in 2014.
The hedge funds, including Oaktree and Apollo, rejected thelast month's debt-to-equity swap proposal put by Goldman Sachsand CVC last month due to differences over the valuation ofNine.
The hedge funds and private equity funds believe there is nomore value in Nine than its $2.2 billion in debt. But Goldmansays it is worth more and proposed a plan that would see Goldmanand its investors end up with a 30 percent stake in Nine, withthe balance to be held by the senior lenders.
(Additional reporting by Stephen Aldred in Hong Kong; Editingby Edwina Gibbs)
Keywords: AUSTRALIA NINE/CVC