The largest creditor to struggling care home group Four Seasons has ditched its requirement for an independent board to oversee the group's restructuring, as 11th-hour talks to save the business continue.
Hedge fund H/2 Capital Partners, which owns the majority of Four Seasons' hefty pile of debt, was calling for the business to put together an independent board which did not include any members of Terra Firma, Four Seasons' private equity owner.
This was one condition of H/2's agreeing to defer an interest payment, due this Friday, which Four Seasons has warned it cannot pay.
Terra Firma and H/2 have been having an increasingly public spat, as Terra Firma has stated its intention to cut its losses and hand over ownership of the 343 Four Seasons care homes to H/2 and other bondholders.
H/2 wanted Terra Firma off the company's board by this time, but the private equity firm – run by Guy Hands – has refused to step back from the business until it had agreed the terms on which it would hand over ownership. This may not happen for another several weeks, and with the interest payment date getting closer H/2 was coming under increasing pressure to drop its demand.
The Care Quality Commission, which oversees adult social care in England, had imposed a non-binding deadline of the end of today for the parties to agree on the interest payment "standstill".
H/2 and Four Seasons are yet to agree on other sticking points. These included making the hedge fund sign a non-disclosure agreement, which would prevent it from talking about the deal or selling the debt to gain from any information it learns, and appointing EY as restructuring advisers and charging the fees to Four Seasons.
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