HomeBusinessCazoo bondholders take steering wheel with $630m debt-for-equity swap

Cazoo bondholders take steering wheel with $630m debt-for-equity swap

Lenders to Cazoo, the British-based on-line automobile retailer, will take management of the corporate’s shares as a part of a deep monetary restructuring anticipated to be introduced inside days.

Sky Information has learnt that Cazoo was on Tuesday placing the ending touches to a $630m debt-for-equity swap that can go away Viking International Traders, a US-based fund, as its largest shareholder.

Sources near the automobile retailer’s bondholders stated an settlement might be introduced in New York, the place it’s publicly traded, this week and probably as early as Wednesday.

The transaction, which will even contain $200m of latest borrowing amenities being put in place, is designed to put Cazoo on a sustainable long-term footing after two turbulent years as a listed firm.

The enterprise, based and run by the Zoopla founder Alex Chesterman, considered one of Britain’s most profitable entrepreneurs, quickly scaled its profile by sponsoring distinguished sports activities groups corresponding to Aston Villa and Everton, the Premier League soccer golf equipment.

It additionally signed offers to connect its model to darts and snooker, amongst different sports activities.

The debt restructuring is anticipated to boost questions on Mr Chesterman’s future, with one debtholder saying on Tuesday night that he may step down as chief govt as soon as the brand new capital construction is in place.

One noteholder stated that whereas shareholders confronted ache from huge dilution of their pursuits, they’d be better-placed as a result of the corporate would have a stability sheet positioned for future development.

It will additionally scale back money curiosity prices on Cazoo’s remaining debt whereas giving present shareholders warrants based mostly on its future efficiency.

The deal is known to be topic to approval from remaining bondholders in addition to shareholders.

Since its launch in late 2019, Cazoo has offered greater than 150,000 used vehicles with an combination worth of £2.5bn, competing aggressively with rivals corresponding to Cinch, owned by Constellation Automotive Group.

Learn extra:
Cazoo debtholders draft in bankers forward of crunch talks

Previous to its merger with a particular function acquisition firm (SPAC) which took it public, Cazoo raised lots of of hundreds of thousands of kilos from buyers together with the ventures arm of the Day by day Mail writer, the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala and Common Catalyst, a number one tech investor.

In worth phrases, nevertheless, its 2021 merger with Ajax I proved to be disastrous for shareholders.

Initially valued at $7bn after the mix, it has misplaced almost all its worth and on Tuesday was buying and selling with a market capitalisation of simply $38m.

Like many different development corporations which went public by way of SPAC mergers, it has suffered from the souring of sentiment in direction of loss-making tech corporations in more difficult financial occasions.

Some, such because the British digital GP service Babylon Well being, have been pressured into insolvency inside years of itemizing.

Final month, Cazoo reported a sturdy working efficiency, saying it had additionally recognized scope for an additional £20m of money financial savings by subsequent yr.

The corporate additionally has almost £200m of money on its stability sheet.

Cazoo has pulled out of European markets to give attention to the UK, whereas it has additionally sought to scale back its money burn by scaling again its array of sponsorships.

Goldman Sachs is known to be advising Cazoo, with PJT Companions advising the noteholders.

Cazoo was contacted for touch upon Tuesday night.

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