Archive for the ‘High Yield (Private Placement)’ Category

TPG’s Bonderman Sees Mega LBO Coming – $10-15B Deal

Friday, March 4th, 2011

David Bonderman, the founder of TPG, claims that large deals are back, and they are back to stay.  Fueled by cheap credit and impatient investors, mega LBOs will return, and according to him, TPG will be at the forefront.  TPG has not been shy of these deals in the past, leading the $44 billion takeover of TXU with Goldman Sachs and KKR in 2007.  Surprisingly, investor memories are short, and the same leverage multiples and weak capital structures we saw in 2006 are emerging today in the private equity industry.  As takeover multiples rise, so will leverage.  And funny thing is, banks are willing to provide it more than ever.

“Larger deals are back,” Mr. Bonderman said Thursday at the SuperReturn conference in Berlin. “It is as I said before absolutely possible to do a 10-to-15-billion-dollar deal now. It might not be one you want to do. It might not be one you should do. But the capital is available.”

Recent private equity deals have been valued at $5 billion or less, a far cry from those of the 2006-2007 buyout boom. Indeed, in 2007 TPG teamed up with KKR and Goldman Sachs to buy the energy company TXU for $44 billion.

But money for private equity deals dried up in the financial crisis and the recovery so far has brought only smaller deals.

Among those deals is the $3 billion leveraged buyout of the preppy retailer J. Crew by TPG and Leonard Green & Partners, a deal that  was approved by the company’s shareholders this week.

Along with larger deals, Mr. Bonderman and other private equity executives at the SuperReturn conference were all abuzz about the potential of emerging markets.

Mr. Bonderman called emerging markets the “flavor of the month” and predicted that initial public offerings in emerging markets would represent an even larger proportion of the deals in years to come.

“Interesting enough, if you survey folks like all of us in this room, everybody sees emerging markets growing just about as fast as mature markets in the deal business, which of course has never been the case before now,” Mr. Bonderman said, adding that the upside potential for deals remained high.

Growth in emerging markets is being fueled by China’s booming economy, which could even be on the verge of a bubble, as well as broader trends, including the rise of the middle class in those regions, Mr. Bonderman said.

“Even Brazil is a China story,” Mr. Bonderman said, adding that the emerging middle class would add trillions of dollars to emerging economies, particularly on the consumption side. This should lead to a “huge rebalancing of how the world sees itself,” he said.

Mr. Bonderman was asked about TPG’s recent exit from the Turkish spirits company Mey Icki , which TPG acquired in 2006 for about $800 million and sold in February for $2.1 billion.

He responded: “We thought it was a good opportunity, and it turned out to be. We would have taken it public had Diageo not shown up. As in any other place, if you can sell the whole business, you’re better off than taking it public, where you have to dribble it out even though you might get a nominally higher value. We like Turkey as a place to invest and we’ll be back.”

On the sovereign crises, such as the one in Greece, Mr. Bonderman said: “When governments are selling, you should be buying. And when governments are defaulting, we should look at that as an opportunity. Prices are always lower when the troops are in the street. A good default, like Portugal or Greece, would be very good for the private equity business. Might not be so good for the republic, but it would be good for us.”

KKR Tries to Fool Investors with Toys R’ Us IPO

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Toys R Us was an Opco-Propco deal done by KKR, Bain, and Vornado in 2005 for $6.5+ billion.  The company was one of the largest owners of real estate in the United States, other than McDonalds.  Since the toy business was not performing well and Babies R Us could not yet produce enough EBITDA to drive the company’s public valuation, these three players found an opportunity to take advantage of its real estate holdings (good call, right?).  Unfortunately, the company now has $5.5 billion in debt on its balance sheet and only has 2.3% growth in sales, a $35mm loss in earnings, down from $95mm in profit last year, and a 25% increase in expenses year over year (SA).  Cash used in operations also increased from $800mm to $1.2 billion over that time period.  Sounds like a great time to IPO, right?  Well, the sponsors in this deal seem to think so.  With equity markets topping, they are trying their hardest to take advantage of foolish retail investors.  Invest at your own risk:

“(Reuters) – Toys R Us Inc TOY.UL is looking to raise around $800 million in an initial public offering in April, though a final decision has not been reached, the New York Post said on Saturday.

The New Jersey-based retailer, which operates stores under its namesake brand and the Babies R Us and FAO Schwarz labels, had put off plans for an IPO in 2010.

“Toys R Us took more market share from competitors last year than they have in the past 20 years,” said one source the Post described as close to the company. “But I don’t think they were satisfied with how they did on the profit level.”

Toys R Us spokeswoman Kathleen Waugh said the company could not comment on the matter.

For December 2010, Toys R Us reported a 5.4 percent total sales rise at its U.S. unit as it lured holiday shoppers away from No. 1 toy retailer Wal-Mart with more temporary stores and exclusive toys. But same-store sales fell 5 percent at its international segment.

Overall, a tough 2010 holiday season had margins hit across the toy industry by bargain-seeking, recession-hit consumers.

So the economic environment has stoked continued debate between management and owners at Toys R Us about whether this is the best time to re-launch an IPO, according to a source briefed on the situation, the Post reported.

Toys R Us was taken private in 2005 by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts KKR.AS, Bain Capital and Vornado Realty Trust in a $6.6 billion deal.

In May 2010, the company filed to raise as much as $800 million in an IPO. But that was not launched.

Toys R Us’s net loss widened to $93 million in the third quarter ended on October 30, 2010, from $67 million a year earlier. While sales were up 1.9 percent in the period, total operating expenses rose about 9.4 percent.

Last fall, the retailer opened 600 smaller “pop-up” stores that added to the more than 850 larger year-round stores it operates in the United States, the Post said.”

HCA Could Have $3 Billion IPO, 4 Years After KKR & Bain Buyout

Sunday, April 11th, 2010


Most recent bond prospectus for HCA…great read.

HCA Prospectus

Short video clip describing HCA IPO and roadshow process.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZ9VUSmUoyo&feature=channel[/youtube]

Four years after its buyout, HCA, the largest hospital chain in the United States is preparing for an IPO that could raise as much as $3 billion for KKR and its investors.  HCA has over 160 hospitals and 105 outpatient-surgery clinics in 20 states and England.  The IPO would help the firm pay down some of its $26 billion in debt.  The company is very well positioned to benefit from health care reform.  According to Analysts, this specific IPO would be the largest in the U.S. since March 2008, when Visa Inc. raised almost $20 billion…A takeover of a public company of more than $6 billion including debt hasn’t been announced since 2007.  HCA has fared much better than other mega-buyouts from 2006/2007, and is only levered at 4.8x trailing EBITDA.

According to Bloomberg, “HCA Inc., the hospital chain bought four years ago in a $33 billion leveraged buyout led by KKR & Co. and Bain Capital LLC, is preparing an initial public offering that may raise $3 billion, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

HCA plans to interview banks to underwrite the sale in the coming weeks, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The sale, slated for this year, may fetch $2.5 billion to $3 billion, the people said. HCA’s owners, which include Bank of America Corp. and Tennessee’s Frist family, may seek $4 billion, said another person familiar with the plans.

The stock offering would be the biggest U.S. IPO in two years and help HCA pay off debt, the people said. The hospital operator may profit from the health-care legislation President Barack Obama signed into law on March 23 that provides for coverage for millions of uninsured patients, said Sheryl Skolnick, an analyst at CRT Capital Group LLC in Stamford, Connecticut.

HCA is “extremely well-positioned to benefit from health reform because their hospitals tend to be concentrated in significant markets” including Denver, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Missouri, and Salt Lake City, Skolnick said yesterday in a telephone interview. “Health reform was very important to this decision.”

Kristi Huller, a spokeswoman for KKR, and Alex Stanton, a Bain spokesman, declined to comment, as did Jerry Dubrowski, a Bank of America spokesman. Ed Fishbough, a spokesman for HCA, didn’t immediately respond to a phone call and e-mail seeking comment.

Buyout Surge

Private-equity firms spent $2 trillion, most of it borrowed, to buy companies ranging from Hilton Hotels Corp. to Clear Channel Communications Inc. in the leveraged-buyout boom that ended in 2007 and are now seeking to cut that debt before it matures.

U.S. IPO investors have been leery of companies backed by private equity this year. In the biggest offering so far, Bain’s Sensata Technologies Holding NV sold $569 million of shares last month at the low end of its estimated price range. In February, Blackstone Group LP’s Graham Packaging Co. and CCMP Capital Advisors LLC’s Generac Holdings Inc. were forced to cut the size of their offerings.

HCA may file for the IPO with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as early as next month, said one of the people.

The IPO would be the largest in the U.S. since March 2008, when Visa Inc. raised almost $20 billion. HCA would be the biggest IPO of a private-equity backed company in the U.S. since at least 2000, according to Greenwich, Connecticut-based Renaissance Capital LLC, which has followed IPOs since 1991.

Debt Load

HCA’s owners put up about $5.3 billion to buy the company, according to a regulatory filing, funding the rest with loans from banks including Bank of America, Merrill Lynch & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. The IPO would lower HCA’s debt load rather than allowing owners to reduce their stakes, said the people.

The hospital chain’s purchase in 2006 shattered the record for the largest leveraged buyout, held since 1989 by KKR’s acquisition of RJR Nabisco Inc. HCA’s record was eclipsed by Blackstone’s acquisition of Equity Office Properties Trust and again by the 2007 takeover of Energy Future Holdings Corp., by KKR and TPG Inc., for $43 billion including debt.

Later that year, the global credit contraction cut off the supply of loans necessary to arrange the largest LBOs. A takeover of a public company of more than $6 billion including debt hasn’t been announced since 2007.

$25.7 Billion Debt

HCA, the largest U.S. hospital operator, had about $25.7 billion of debt as of Dec. 31, about 4.8 times its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, even before HCA’s owners tapped credit lines in January to pay themselves a $1.75 billion dividend. Tenet Healthcare Corp.’s ratio was 4.4 and LifePoint Hospitals Inc.’s was 2.85 at year- end, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Health-care companies have fared better than the average private-equity investment during the economic decline. KKR said in February that its holding in the company had gained as much as 90 percent in value as of Dec. 31, while stakes in Energy Future Holdings Corp. and First Data Corp. were worth less than their initial cost.

Hospitals will probably be “net winners” in the health- care legislation, said Adam Feinstein, a New York-based analyst at Barclays Capital, in a March 26 note to investors. HCA, Dallas-based Tenet and Brentwood, Tennessee-based LifePoint may gain because the legislation will reduce hospitals’ losses from providing charity care to the poor and uncollectible bills.

Frist Family

HCA has 163 hospitals and 105 outpatient-surgery clinics in 20 states and England, according to the company’s Web site.

The company was founded in 1968, when Nashville physician Thomas Frist Sr., and his son, Thomas Frist Jr., and Jack Massey built a hospital there and formed Hospital Corp. of America. By 1987, the company had grown to operate 463 hospitals, according to the company’s Web site. Thomas Frist Sr. is also the father of Bill Frist, a physician and the former Senate majority leader.

HCA went private in a $5.1 billion leveraged buyout in 1989, then went public again in 1992, according to the company Web site. In 1994, HCA merged with Louisville, Kentucky-based Columbia Hospital Corp. In the mid-1990s the company, then called Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., operated 350 hospitals, 145 outpatient clinics and 550 home-care agencies, according to the company.

Overbilling Settlement

In December 2000, HCA agreed to pay $840 million in criminal and civil penalties to settle U.S. claims that it overbilled states and the federal government for health-care costs. It was the largest government fraud settlement in U.S. history at the time, according to a U.S. Justice Department news release on Dec. 14, 2000.

A credit-market rally has helped HCA extend maturities on some of its debt. HCA has sold $4.46 billion of bonds since February 2009 in a bid to repay bank debt and delay maturities, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company still has about $11 billion coming due over the next three years, according to Bloomberg data. It is also negotiating with lenders to amend the terms of a bank loan.

HCA offered earlier this month to pay an increased interest rate to lengthen maturities on $1 billion of bank debt, according to two people familiar with the matter. The amendment would allow HCA to move part of the money due under its term loan B to 2017 from 2013. Even after the refinancing and debt pay downs, the company will still have to access the “capital markets to address remaining maturities,” said Moody’s Investors Service Inc. in a note last month.

“It will be difficult for the company to meaningfully reduce the amount of debt outstanding through operations due to limited free cash flow generation,” Moody’s said.”

Here is an article from 4 years ago by the NY Times describing the mega-buyout:

“HCA, the nation’s largest for-profit hospital operator, said today that it had agreed to be acquired by consortium of private investors for about $21 billion. The investors will also take on about $11.7 billion of HCA’s debt.
Skip to next paragraph

The overall deal, which the company valued at about $33 billion, would rank as the largest leveraged buyout in history, eclipsing the $31 billion takeover of RJR Nabisco in 1989 by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company.

The group of buyers is led by the family of Senator Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader. His father, Thomas Frist Sr., and his brother, Thomas F. Frist Jr., founded HCA.

The other investors are Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and the private equity arm of Merrill Lynch.

The deal appears to be driven by trends both on Wall Street and in the health care industry. For one thing, the private equity business — in which investment companies pool capital from investors in order to buy companies and then resell them or take them public — is swimming in cash. And private equity firms are eager to invest in a company like HCA, which generates a lot of revenue and, judging by its stock price, is seen as undervalued by investors.

Like many other for-profit hospital companies, HCA has seen its stock perform poorly in recent years. The whole industry has struggled with increasing amounts of bad debt, as more people fail to pay their bills because they do not have sufficient health insurance or any coverage.

Separately, various private equity firms have made a number of huge deals recently: Univision for $12.3 billion in June; $22 billion for Kinder Morgan in May; General Motors’ finance unit, GMAC, for as much as $14 billion in April.

Earlier this month, the Blackstone Group said it had lined up $15.6 billion in commitments for its latest buyout pool, forming the world’s largest private equity fund.

HCA was taken private once before, in the late 1980’s by the company’s management, which at the time thought it was undervalued. The move turned out to be a success, and HCA went public again a few years later.

Today’s deal promises to generate large fees for Wall Street bankers and lawyers, who have been toiling away on the transaction for months. Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and Shearman & Sterling are advising HCA; Merrill, Bank of America Corporation, Citigroup Inc., J. P. Morgan Chase and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett are financing and advising the buying group.

HCA is the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chain, with 2005 revenues of roughly $25 billion. Based in Nashville, Tenn., the company operates about 180 hospitals and nearly 100 surgery centers.

After merging with Columbia Hospital Corporation in 1994, HCA became the subject of a sweeping federal Medicare fraud investigation; it agreed to pay $1.7 billion to settle the matter. Thomas Frist Jr., who had left HCA’s management before the fraud charges arose, eventually returned as chief executive in 1997. He stepped down as chairman in 2002, but he remains on the company’s board of directors.

Senator Frist’s ties to the company have drawn criticism over the years, as he has been active in the Senate on a variety of health-care initiatives that have the potential to affect the large hospital company. Last fall, the Securities and Exchange Commission began an investigation into his decision to sell stock, once estimated to be worth more than $10 million, which was held in a trust.

Mr. Frist sold the stock in June 2005, just as the price of HCA stock peaked and shortly before it fell the following month; the sale was disclosed in September. He has said that the timing of the sale was a coincidence, the result of a decision to divest his holdings in the company, and that he is cooperating with the investigation.

Under the terms of today’s deal, the consortium of investors would pay $51 a share for HCA’s outstanding common stock, roughly 15 percent more than the company’s trading price early last week, when word spread that the negotiations had faltered. Today, HCA’s stock rose $1.61, or 3.4 percent, to close at $49.48 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The investor consortium is expected to borrow about $15 billion to finance the deal. But with the high-yield bond market tightening, raising that amount could be a challenge.

There is also the possibility that another group could emerge with a rival offer. HCA has included a provision in its deal with the investor consortium that allows it to actively seek a higher offer. Firms like the Blackstone Group and the Apollo Group, as well as rival hospital operators, could try to bid.”

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New UBS Alumni Investment Bank Princeridge Takes Over ICP Capital

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

After meeting two managing directors from PrinceRidge in Boston, I can definitely vouch for the fact that it is a very respectable firm with great people.  They will continue to grow in this market because of their expertise in high yield issuance, restructuring, and trading.  ICP is a solid acquisition because of its focus in structured products and asset management.

According to Ms. Shenn of Bloomberg, “PrinceRidge Holdings LP, run by former UBS AG executives John Costas and Michael T. Hutchins, is taking over the capital-market operations of ICP Capital, the broker and asset manager focused on structured products.

ICP Capital, majority owned by Chief Executive Officer Thomas Priore, will become one of six senior partners that own PrinceRidge and the combined business will operate under the PrinceRidge name, Costas said today in a telephone interview. Both firms are based in New York.

ICP, which has 60 employees in the units in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London and Copenhagen, is teaming with PrinceRidge after losing the head of its trading and investment- banking business, Carlos Mendez. PrinceRidge is attempting to position itself to capitalize on a “once in 50-year opportunity” to create a sizable “boutique” securities firm, as it expects only four or five of about 180 smaller competitors to grow into mid-size rivals to Wall Street’s “mega-players,” Costas said.

“There will be a tremendous consolidation and a shaking out among these 180 players, and the conclusion we clearly came to is we are stronger together, and can increase the probability of us being one of the winners,” he said.

PrinceRidge Chairman Costas, 53, and CEO Hutchins, 54, last year reunited to start their firm after running UBS’s hedge fund Dillon Read Capital Management LLC, which the Swiss bank wound down in 2007 as the credit crisis began roiling debt investors. Costas earlier led UBS’s investment bank.

‘Shouting Match’

PrinceRidge now has 85 employees, Costas said. ICP, which was founded as a Bank of New York affiliate in 2004 and became independent in 2006, has about a dozen workers in its separate asset-management unit, said Priore, 41.

Mendez left ICP after a “shouting match” with Priore last month, industry newsletter Asset-Backed Alert reported March 5. Mendez confirmed his departure in a telephone interview today and declined to comment further.

Priore declined to comment on Mendez’s departure, saying his company could have explored other options including raising capital.

“We chose this route because we think it really speeds up our evolution by a couple of years,” Priore said.”

Junk Bonds Rebound as Investors Look for Yield

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Junk bonds have returned over 65% since the fall of Lehman Brothers.  Has credit quality improved since?  Not so much, but investors have become more aggressive and do not wish to earn zero or negative returns after inflation from U.S. Treasuries.  Even corporate bonds are not returning as much, since benchmark rates are so low.  As the Fed’s asset purchases stop in March, this could change.  Mortgage rates have also been kept artificially how.  Low spreads of about 6% on these bonds have helped risky companies refinance.  High yield issuers have already issued $42 billion in the first quarter, a record.

According to Ms. Salas and Mr. Paulden of Bloomberg, high-yield, high-risk bonds are beating investment-grade debt for the first time this year as confidence in the U.S. economic recovery gains strength.

Speculative-grade securities have returned 1.93 percent this month, bringing year-to-date gains to 3.63 percent, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data. That compares with a 0.07 percent loss this month for investment- grade bonds and a 2.32 percent return in 2010. The junk-bond index is being led higher by Freescale Semiconductor Inc. and Energy Future Holdings Corp., formerly known as TXU Corp.

Lenders to the neediest borrowers are accepting the lowest relative yields since January as confidence in the global economy spurs Morgan Stanley to boost its growth estimate for 2010 to 4.4 percent from 4 percent. Speculative-grade credit rating upgrades by Moody’s Investors Service are poised to outpace downgrades for the second consecutive quarter, the first time that’s happened since 2006, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“It’s a yield grab,” said Jack Iles, an investment manager at MFC Global Investment Management in Boston who helps oversee $4 billion in fixed-income assets.

The extra yield investors demand to own high-yield bonds instead of Treasuries has narrowed for nine straight days to 6.15 percentage points, the longest streak of spread tightening since August, Bank of America Merrill Lynch data show. The spread had widened to 7.03 percentage points on Feb. 12 from 6.39 percentage points in December on concern that Greece’s budget deficit, Europe’s biggest in terms of gross domestic product, would slow the global economy.

‘Bit of a Stumble’

“Risky assets took a little bit of a stumble from January to mid-February and that was by and large wrapped up with concerns over sovereign debt,” said Christopher Garman, president of Orinda, California-based Garman Research LLC. “Those concerns seem to have more or less faded.”

Elsewhere in credit markets, Fannie Mae sold $6 billion of debt, its biggest offering of benchmark notes since April, as the company boosts borrowing and cuts holdings to fund about $130 billion of planned purchases of delinquent loans from the mortgage securities it guarantees. The 3-year debt from the mortgage company under government control yields 1.803 percent, or 31 basis points more than similar-maturity Treasuries, Washington-based Fannie Mae said in a statement.

Commercial Paper

U.S. commercial paper outstanding rose $11.2 billion to $1.14 trillion in the week ended March 10, after declining by $20.4 billion in the previous period, the Federal Reserve said on its Web site. Commercial paper, which typically matures in 270 days or less, is used to finance everyday activities such as payroll and rent.

Central clearing of derivatives including credit-default swaps will come under scrutiny as part of efforts to safeguard the European Union’s financial system. At a meeting on March 22, EU nations and the European Commission will examine ways to cut the risk in the event that one of the parties to a derivatives contract can’t meet its obligations, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg News.

Clearinghouses for swaps transactions should be open to any firm that wants to process trades in the $300 trillion U.S. market, according to Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler.

“Clearinghouses should not be allowed to discriminate between or amongst the trades coming from one trading venue or another,” the chairman said in prepared remarks at the Futures Industry Association conference in Boca Raton, Florida.

Bondholder Protection

The cost to protect against corporate bond defaults in the U.S. rose as the Markit CDX North America Investment Grade Index, which is linked to 125 companies and used to speculate on creditworthiness or to hedge against losses, climbed 0.5 basis point to a mid-price of 83.5 basis points, according to broker Phoenix Partners Group. The gauge typically increases as investor confidence deteriorates.

In London, the Markit iTraxx Europe index of swaps on 125 companies with investment-grade ratings, rose 1.5 basis point today to 75.75 basis points, the highest since March 5, JPMorgan Chase & Co. prices show.

Credit-default swaps pay the buyer face value if a borrower defaults in exchange for the underlying securities or the cash equivalent. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point and equals $1,000 a year on a contract protecting against default on $10 million of debt for five years.

Signs that the U.S. economy is improving are bolstering demand for speculative-grade securities, according to Martin Fridson, chief executive officer of money manager Fridson Investment Advisors.

‘Healthy Appetite’

“There is a healthy appetite for risk,” Fridson said. “There is a fading of concern over Greece and more upbeat economic numbers.”

Morgan Stanley expects “above-consensus global GDP growth,” raising the projection from December, “despite growth downgrades in Europe,” a weaker first quarter in the U.S. and “recent softening” in a China manufacturing index, the firm’s economists said March 10.

The Organization for Economic Corporation and Development said March 5 its leading indicator, which signals the direction of the economy, reached the highest in almost 31 years in January.

The measure increased by 0.8 point to 103.6 from 102.8 in December, the Paris-based organization said. January’s reading was the highest since May 1979. Gains on the month were led by Japan, the U.S., Canada and Germany, the OECD said.

Spreads to Narrow

High-yield spreads will narrow to 4 percentage points by year-end as defaults plunge, according to Garman. Moody’s predicts the speculative-grade default rate will decline to 2.9 percent by the end of 2010 from 11.6 percent in February. The rate fell from 12.5 percent in January.

The worst-rated bonds are performing the best this month. Securities ranked CCC and lower have gained 2.77 percent while BB rated notes, the highest junk tier, have returned 1.81 percent, Bank of America Merrill Lynch data show. High-yield securities are rated below Baa3 by Moody’s and lower than BBB- by Standard & Poor’s.

Bonds of Freescale, the computer chipmaker bought by firms led by Blackstone Group LP, have climbed 5.36 percent on average and debt of Energy Future, the power producer taken private by KKR & Co. and TPG, has returned 4.27 percent, Bank of America Merrill Lynch data show. Austin, Texas-based Freescale is rated Caa2 by Moody’s and B- by S&P. Dallas-based Energy Future is rated Caa3 and B-, respectively.

Issuance Rises

The bonds are rallying in part because the thawing of the new issue market has given the riskiest companies the ability to refinance their debt, said MFC Global’s Iles.

Speculative-grade companies have issued $42.5 billion of bonds in 2010, already a record first quarter, Bloomberg data show. Junk bond sales totaled $11.8 billion in the first three months of 2009.

“The reopening of the new issue market was huge for these guys,” Iles said. “The ability for companies like TXU to restructure even part of their balance sheet is much better than it was even six months ago.”

Lisa Singleton, a spokeswoman for Energy Future and Freescale spokesman Robert Hatley declined to comment.

Among high-yield borrowers selling debt this week were GMAC Inc., which sold $1.5 billion of 8 percent, 10-year bonds, and McLean, Virginia-based Alion Science & Technology Corp., which issued $310 million of 12 percent payment-in-kind notes that can pay interest in the form of added debt.

Insurance companies were the best performing industry in the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Master II Index with gains of 6.63 percent this month. Bonds of American International Group Inc., once the world’s largest insurer, have risen to the highest levels in 18 months after the New York- based company said March 1 it was selling AIA Group Ltd. to Prudential Plc for $35.5 billion.

Financial service company debt, the second-best performing sector, gained 3.64 percent and restaurant company bonds followed with returns of 3.13 percent, index data show.

JDA Software $250M Debt Offering

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

JDA

JDA Software has issued $250M in a private offering (qualified institutional buyers) in Sr. Notes.   The company plans to use the proceeds in order to fund a $434M acquisition of i2 Technologies (NASDAQ: ITWO).

JDA provides inventory management software for retailers. i2 technologies is in the business of supply chain management and offers software applications and SaaS.

This will be JDA’s second attempt to acquire i2 technologies after a failure in financing this past November. JDA had entered a $346M deal which provided special provisions to allow the buyer (JDA) to terminate the agreement in case of inability to raise financing.  In most cases in the past, the use of this provision leads into further negotiation of the purchase price.  However, when JDA attempted to lower the price, i2 refused, and instead JDA was forced to pay a $20M termination fee.

In addition to JDA’s debt offering, the company will fund their acquisition with a $120M loan and a $20M revolver from Wells Fargo.

~Amit