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Sysco Obtains $4.75 Billion Loan From Goldman Sachs for US Foods

Sysco Corp., a distributor of food to restaurants, obtained a financing commitment of $4.75 billion from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to back its purchase of US Foods.

Goldman is providing the debt in the form of a 364-day senior unsecured bridge loan facility, Houston-based Sysco said today in a regulatory filing. Bridge facilities are short-term loans that usually mature in one year and are often used as backstops to bond offerings or longer-dated bank borrowings.

Sysco agreed to purchase US Foods for $3.5 billion, adding brands from Cattleman’s meat to Devonshire desserts. Sysco is paying $3 billion in common stock and $500 million in cash to owners including private-equity firms KKR & Co. and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC.

KKR and CD&R bought US foods for $7.2 billion from Royal Ahold NV in 2007. The Rosemont, Illinois-based company’s equity holders will own about 13 percent of Sysco’s shares once the merger is completed, according to a joint-company statement yesterday.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of next year, pending regulatory approval. Sysco, ranked A1 by Moody’s Investors Service and A at Standard & Poor’s, said it expects to maintain a “strong investment grade rating.”

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