BANKING & FINANCE

Olympia Offers Equity for Debt Freeze: Cash-strapped Canadian real estate giant Olympia & York Developments Ltd. said it offered its lenders up to a 20% stake in the company in return for more lenient repayment terms on its $12-billion debt. The plan would turn the secretive company into a publicly traded company within seven years. Toronto-based O&Y;, controlled by the Reichmann brothers, asked lenders to defer principal payments for five years. It plans to cover interest payments on its debt with cash earnings. Any shortfall would be covered by non-voting common stock in the company, up to 20%. Initial reaction from one bank was cool.

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