Argentine team visiting N.Y. in last effort to avoid default

July 28
ARGENTINA
Team making last effort to avoid default

Argentina’s government said Monday that it will make another effort to reach a deal with U.S. creditors ahead of a deadline that risks sending the country into its second default in 13 years.

Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich said an Argentine delegation will travel to New York to meet a court-appointed mediator Tuesday, a day ahead of the deadline.

“Argentina’s position is to reach a dialogue that establishes fair, legal and sustainable conditions for negotiation with 100 percent of the bondholders,” Capitanich said at a news conference at the presidential palace.

But the mediator, Daniel A. Pollack, said in a statement that although the Argentines will meet him, they have not accepted his recommendation of face-to-face talks with the plaintiffs in the dispute, led by New York billionaire Paul Singer’s NML Capital.

Those creditors bought Argentine bonds on the cheap and rejected the government’s restructuring offers following its record $100 billion default in 2001. They are demanding payment of some $1.5 billion in unpaid debts.

By Wednesday, Argentina has to make a payment to other creditors who accepted the restructured bonds or fall into default. But U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa has forbidden Argentina to pay them without paying the holdouts as well.

In June, Griesa ordered Bank of New York Mellon to return to Argentina $539 million it had deposited to pay holders of restructured debt.

— Associated Press

MERGERS
Zillow to buy rival Trulia for $3.5 billion

Zillow said it would buy smaller rival Trulia for $3.5 billion, combining the top two U.S. real estate Web sites to cut costs after they failed to produce profits from a rising number of home buyers shopping online.

The deal, which antitrust experts say is unlikely to face regulatory hurdles as there are very few barriers to enter the market, will enable the companies to cut marketing costs that have resulted in heavy losses for both.

The companies, rivals for nine years, said the all-stock deal would help save at least $100 million a year by 2016. Between them, the companies spent $382 million in 2013, more than their revenue. Their combined loss was $30 million.

Trulia’s shares jumped 15.4 percent to close at $65.04, still well short of the offer, which values the company at $70.53 per share. Zillow’s shares rose 0.9 percent to close at $160.32.

Zillow and Trulia list properties for sale or rent on behalf of homeowners and real estate agents and generate revenue through subscriptions and advertising.

Zillow, known for estimated home values called “Zestimates,” reported 83 million unique users in June, ranking above Web sites such as Buzzfeed and Pandora. Trulia had 54 million users.

— Reuters

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