April 4 (Bloomberg) -- The University of Connecticut plans to sell $220 million of municipal bonds starting today as its teams are set to play this weekend in the Final Four of the men’s and women’s national college basketball tournaments.
Officials decided on the timing of the tax-exempt offering before the tournament began March 18, said John Sullivan, the university’s manager of treasury services. The school will resume the deal April 7, the day of the men’s national championship game. The school will wrap up the sale April 8, when its women’s team has a shot at being crowned winner for the second-straight year and eighth time since 2000.
“I’ve got to admit, with the NCAA Tournament, it’s good timing for the deal,” Sullivan said. “With both the men’s and women’s teams, how much better could it get? The stars are aligned.”
Buyers from previous bond sales have sought benefits beyond the tax-exempt interest. Sullivan said he has fielded calls from debt purchasers asking for better seats at basketball games. They didn’t get them.
It’s the fourth time that the school’s men’s and women’s basketball programs have both reached the Final Four in the same year, a National Collegiate Athletic Association record. The university, founded in 1881 with a main campus in Storrs, Connecticut, has been a powerhouse in the past 15 years, winning a combined 10 national titles, including both tournaments in 2004.
Money from the bond sale will fund construction as part of a 29-year, $4.6 billion initiative that began in 1995 called the UConn 2000 Infrastructure Improvement Program. The general-obligation securities also have state backing, offering documents show. The university shares Connecticut’s AA rating from Standard & Poor’s, third-highest.
The school usually sees demand from both individual and institutional investors, and yields are often below Connecticut general obligations, Sullivan said. The university will offer the debt to individual investors today and April 7, and insurance companies and mutual funds will be able to buy on April 8, he said.
University bonds rallied before the new deal. Tax-free debt maturing in February 2026 traded yesterday for the first time since February at an average yield of 2.73 percent, the lowest since June, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
UConn’s men’s team, a No. 7 seed with a 30-8 record, faces top-ranked Florida (36-2) tomorrow for a place in the championship game. The winner will take on either Wisconsin (30-7) or Kentucky (28-10) in the April 7 title game.
On the women’s side, Connecticut (38-0) plays Stanford (33-3) on April 6 for a shot at the crown. On the other side of the bracket, Maryland (28-6) takes on Notre Dame (36-0).
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