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Bank of Ireland hooks up with TV3 owner Doughty Hanson

Bank of Ireland is expected to lead a major refinancing for UK private equity company Doughty Hanson, the owner of TV3.

Doughty, which has done a number of acquisitions and disposals in the last 12 months, is expected to raise €635m in fresh debt, along with fellow lender HSBC, Unicredit and ING.

While banks like Bank of Ireland are now mandated by the government to concentrate their lending in Ireland, such lenders are able to retain contacts and business with existing customers.

Doughty which bought TV3 in 2006 from Canadian firm Canwest, has done several deals with an Irish dimension over recent years, selling Impress to Adragh for €1.7bn last year.

While its TV3 investment was made just as the boom was coming to an end, the station has made cuts and was profitable according to its last set of results in late 2010.

The station is run by former Eircom executive David McRedmond. TV3 is the second most watched television station in the market.

In 2008, TV3 acquired Channel 6, which has seen its audience share increase by 60pc since being rebranded as 3e, TV3 claims.

Doughty needs the debt after buying offshore fund administration firms Equity Trust and TMF Group. The debt to be raised will be senior.

Doughty now has one of the world's largest offshore fund administration groups. It has also gained a large presence in derivatives through some of its recent purchases.

TV3 said a few months ago that its profits for 2010 could be more than double last year's as advertising rebounded.

Last summer Doughty Hanson put €15m into TV3, with €9m to pay down debt and the rest used as working capital.

TV3 cut its costs by making 30 staff redundant and also introducing paycuts.

Irish Independent