Blackboard withdraws leveraged loan request to reduce pricing 50 bps as investors balk

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 11.39.31 AMInvestors balked at Blackboard‘s attempt to reduce pricing by 50 bps on its $868 million covenant-lite term loan due October 2018 and the transaction has now been withdrawn, sources said.

Leads Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, and Morgan Stanley a week ago approached the syndicate, asking them to roll outstandings into a new B-4 loan with the same maturity at L+325, with a 1% LIBOR floor. The repriced loan was offered at 99.875-100 and would have included six months of 101 soft call protection.

The B-3 loan, currently priced at L+375 with a 1% floor, is callable at par. The Washington, D.C.-based education software maker is controlled by Providence Equity Partners. The issuer is rated B/B2, with loan ratings of B+/B1 and a 2 recovery rating. – Chris Donnelly


Ares prices $1.26B CLO via J.P. Morgan; July US CLO issuance tops $12B

.P. Morgan has priced a $1.2607 billion CLO for Ares Management, according to sources.

The transaction, which is the asset manager’s third new-issue deal to price in the U.S. this year, is structured as follows:

The deal includes a roughly two-year non-call period and a four-year reinvestment period. The legal final maturity is in August 2025.

With Ares’ deal, CLO issuance in the year to date rises to about $73.2 billion across 135 deals, according to LCD. In July, 21 deals have priced totaling $12.2 billion. – Kerry Kantin 



Charter sets meeting tomorrow to launch $7.4B of leveraged loans for M&A, 3-part with Comcast and Time Warner

charter_communications_logoCharter Communications is launching $7.4 billion of incremental institutional term loans via a lender meeting tomorrow at 2:00 pm EDT, sources said. The funding will come as new tranche G and H loans, which are expected to have different maturities, the sources added.

Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, and Deutsche Bank have underwritten term debt totaling up to $8.4 billion and a $500 million revolver in connection with Charter’s purchase of certain assets of Comcast Corp. The remaining $1 billion of that commitment will be a $1 billion revolver that’s not on offer to the market, sources noted.

The cable operator has in place a $1.5 billion TLE due 2020 and a $1.2 billion TLF due 2021, both of which are priced at L+225, with a 0.75% LIBOR floor.

In April, Charter and Comcast announced a three-part plan that would grow Charter’s subscriber base and help with regulatory hurdles for Comcast’s $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable.

According to regulatory filings, following the completion of Comcast’s merger with Time Warner Cable, Charter will acquire roughly 1.4 million existing Time Warner Cable subscribers, increasing its video customer base from 4.4 million to roughly 5.7 million and making Charter the second largest cable operator in the U.S.

Charter and Comcast also agreed to transfer assets involving roughly 1.6 million former Time Warner customers and 1.6 million Charter customers in a tax-efficient exchange, improving the geographic presence of both companies. Additionally, Comcast will spin off a new entity composed of cable systems serving roughly 2.5 million Comcast customers to its shareholders, with Charter acquiring approximately 33% of the equity of the spin-off in exchange for 13% of the equity of a new holding company of Charter.

The three-part plan is contingent upon completion of the Comcast and Time Warner merger. – Staff reports


Phoenix-like CLO market takes another turn in the loan spotlight

Over its 25-year history, the CLO product has been written off as dead, or at the very least hobbled, at least twice: (1) in the wake of the early-2000s default spike, and (2) after the 2008 credit crunch, when the entire structured-finance market came under intense regulatory scrutiny. Over the past 12 months, however, CLO technology has proved resilient yet again, and in fact is thriving like never before. For one thing, the number of managers that printed a new vehicle over the past 12 months increased to 101, from 92 in 2013 and 66 a year earlier. Further, the current figure is within sight of the all-time high of 110, from 2006.

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– Steve Miller

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