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UPDATE 1-Goldman backs Nine Entertainment's debt-for-equity deal

* Mezzanine lender Goldman says will settle for 7.5 pct ofNine equity

* Hedge fund lenders holding A$2.2 bln hold key to any deal * Deal would wipe out Nine owner CVC's $1.8 bln in equity(Adds details, comments)

MELBOURNE, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Funds run by Goldman SachsGroup Inc agreed to swap debt for equity in CVC CapitalPartners Ltd's Nine Entertainment as the beleagueredAustralian television network scrambled to avoid going intoreceivership.

Other lenders including hedge funds have yet to decidewhether they agree to the debt-for-equity swap plan put forwardby Nine management under a deal that would wipe out CVCCapital's A$1.8 billion ($1.84 billion) equity investment in thecompany. That would be the largest-ever loss on a singleprivate-equity deal in Asia.

The swap would give the Goldman Sachs funds, which are owedA$975 million in mezzanine debt, a 7.5 percent equity stake inthe broadcaster, plus warrants giving it some upside if thebusiness was sold or floated.

"Goldman Sachs Mezzanine Partners understands the importanceof keeping this iconic Australian broadcaster out ofadministration and is supporting the Nine board and management,"a spokesman for Goldman Sachs Mezzanine Partners said onWednesday. "Therefore Goldman Sachs Mezzanine Partners hasagreed to endorse Nine's proposal."

An earlier plan put forward by Goldman and CVC proposingGoldman ending up with a 30 percent equity stake was rejected bythe senior lenders of Nine - mostly rival private equity firmsand hedge funds that include Apollo Global Managementand Oaktree Capital Group .

The funds, which own about A$2.2 billion in senior debtbought from original bank lenders on the secondary market, couldnot immediately be reached for comment.

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.

Nine, one of the biggest private equity-owned companies inAustralia, has assets including the Channel Nine free-to-airnetwork, ticketing agency Ticketek and a 50 percent stake inonline site ninemsn.com.

CVC paid A$5.3 billion in cash and debt for Nine in twodeals at the peak of the buyout boom in 2006-2008, overloadingon cheap debt just before the global financial crisis hit.

Since then, advertising revenues have collapsed across themedia sector, slashing profits at Nine and rival TV networks.

($1 = 0.9801 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Miranda Maxwell and Victoria Thieberger; Editingby Ryan Woo)

((Sonali.Paul@thomsonreuters.com)(+61 3 9286 1419)(ReutersMessaging: sonali.paul.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: AUSTRALIA NINE/GOLDMAN