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NII Hires Help to Assess M&A, Debt Options

NEW YORK (The Deal) -- Mobile phone company NII Holdings (NIHD) announced Monday it has retained financial advisers to review a range of strategic options, including M&A transactions as well as a debt restructuring.

Advisers from UBS Investment Bank are helping the loss-making, debt-burdened company evaluate business partnerships and M&A for the entire company or specific business units, while Rothschild is advising on capital structure transactions such as debt restructuring or refinancing.

Reston, Va.-based NII, which provides wireless phone services in Latin America, saw its common stock and unsecured debt nosedive after the company warned on Feb. 28 that it is in danger of violating its debt covenants in 2014 and faces liquidity issues in 2015. The company operates under the Nextel brand in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Chile.

Potential covenant violations aren't NII's only short-term concern. Bondholder Aurelius Capital Management sent a March 4 letter to the company that accused NII of making intercompany transfers that violate its bond indentures and also of making fraudulent transfers.

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"While we wish these concerns to be promptly and suitably resolved, rest assured we have no desire to exacerbate NII's financial stress if that can be avoided," the New York hedge fund wrote in the letter. "We therefore invite a constructive dialog [sic], to include both principals and counsel, at the earliest opportunity."

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