Nine Entertainment's future is still under a cloud after marathon meetings yesterday, but the media group's boss, David Gyngell, confirmed that he will remain at the helm even if the company falls into administration.
Mr Gyngell told BusinessDay after yesterday's meetings that he was ''quietly optimistic'' the group would avoid collapse but admitted Nine's survival was 50-50 and would come down to further meetings scheduled for today.
While reports late yesterday suggested the warring lenders had reached agreement, this was denied by sources close to Goldman Sachs which represents lower-ranked mezzanine lenders owed $1 billion.
''There is no agreement. Will there be tomorrow? Time will tell,'' they said.
Nine is at the mercy of its lenders, who are owed $3.2 billion, and needs a debt restructure to remain a going concern.
But the debt-holders have been unable to agree on whether the mezzanine debt is worth anything in a debt-for-equity swap, or, if the whole company goes to the US hedge funds that control most of the $2.2 billion worth of senior debt.
''It's been a vigorous debate around valuation,'' Mr Gyngell said of the meeting, which started at 9am at the offices of Gilbert and Tobin in Sydney in an attempt to get an agreement between Goldman and the hedge funds.
If the lenders fail to reach a deal Nine's directors will be expected to pull the plug on the business as early as tomorrow.
Nine is understood to have tapped PPB Advisory as its administrator, if needed.
The senior lenders, led by US hedge funds Oaktree Capital and Apollo Global Management, have appointed KordaMentha as their advisers and likely receivers.
The hedge funds will end up in control of Nine - either by swapping their debt for ownership of the business or claiming it in administration.
There is uncertainty over what damage Nine would sustain from administration. At stake is a $1 billion contract for NRL rights, a $500 million deal with the US studio Warner Bros and the future of Nine's $300 million cricket rights deal, which expires in March. But the marathon talks make it more likely a deal will be agreed to this week.
The second-ranked mezzanine lenders agreed to a deal put to all debt holders last week by Mr Gyngell and Nine chairman Peter Bush, which hands them a $150 million stake in the company. The mezzanine lenders have refused to negotiate further.
The senior lenders have resisted the deal and have been trying to renegotiate the terms of the proposal. It is believed they sweetened their original counter-offer to Goldman at yesterday's meetings with a proposal to hand the mezzanine lenders an equity stake in Nine worth $100 million.
Some of the original senior lenders have told Nine's management they will support a deal as long as their debt gets rolled over at par.