SkillSoft Plans to Sell Debt as Buyouts Rise: New Issue Alert
May 12 (Bloomberg) -- SkillSoft Plc, the provider of educational software for businesses, is marketing debt as acquisitions by private-equity firms accelerate.
SkillSoft may sell $310 million of eight-year notes to help pay for its purchase by Berkshire Partners LLC, Advent International Corp. and Bain Capital LLC, according to a person familiar with the transaction.
Buyouts by private-equity firms are accelerating as borrowing costs for high-yield, high-risk companies fall, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Private-equity buyers made $39 billion of acquisitions this year, compared with $27 billion in the same period of 2009, Bloomberg data show. Investors’ concern that companies will be targeted in debt-funded buyouts is widening relative yields, said Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts led by Hans Mikkelsen in New York.
“Clearly the market’s perception of LBO risk has been increasing steadily since the last half of March,” the analysts wrote in a May 10 note to clients. “The rapid widening of spreads this week reflects the renewed focus on LBO risk” as well as investors’ concerns about a possible sovereign default in Europe, they wrote.
The extra yield investors demand to own high-yield bonds instead of U.S. Treasuries climbed 9 basis points to 634 basis points, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Master II Index. They reached 647 basis points, the highest in two months, on May 7.
High-yield debt is rated below Baa3 by Moody’s Investors Service and BBB- by Standard & Poor’s. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.
Hillman Cos., InVentiv Health Inc. and Bway Holding Co. are among companies that may issue bonds to help pay for acquisitions by private-equity firms, according to people familiar with the transactions.
S&P grades SkillSoft B+, four steps below investment grade, and the notes B-, two steps lower, citing “its high leverage and narrow product focus within a fragmented and highly competitive market with low barriers to entry.”
MDC Partners Inc. sold $65 million of six-year notes in yesterday’s only high-yield bond sale.
Morgan Stanley, the sixth-largest U.S. bank by assets, sold $1.75 billion of floating-rate notes and Enterprise Products Operating LLC, a unit of the second-largest U.S. pipeline operator, raised $2 billion from a three-part offering, Bloomberg data show.
Investment-grade spreads widened 2 basis points to 179 basis points yesterday, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. Corporate Master Index.
U.S. corporate bond sales of $4.97 billion through yesterday compare with $833 million during the similar period a week earlier, Bloomberg data show.
Following is a description of $8.95 billion of pending sales of dollar-denominated bonds in the U.S.
CHILE plans to sell $1 billion of dollar-denominated 10-year bonds, along with its debut sale of peso securities, Finance Minister Felipe Larrain said. The country will “certainly” issue the debt this year, Larrain said.
DOHA BANK QSC, Qatar’s third-largest bank, plans to sell senior notes in dollars, the lender said in a statement on the Qatari bourse, without disclosing the size of the offering.
FORETHOUGHT FINANCIAL GROUP INC. plans to sell $150 million of 10-year bonds, according to a person familiar with the transaction, who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set. Standard & Poor’s assigned the notes a grade of BBB- in a March 24 report.
TRANSNET LTD., the South African state-owned transportation company, plans to sell U.S. dollar-denominated debt in a benchmark offering, according to a person familiar with the transaction. Transnet said in February that it planned to sell $2 billion of international debt to help fund infrastructure. Barclays Capital and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are joint bookrunners for the offering, said the person, who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set.
INDOSAT PALAPA CO., a unit of Indonesia’s second-largest phone operator, may sell 10-year senior notes in a benchmark offering, according to a person familiar with the transaction.
KOREA RESOURCES CORP., the state-run minerals developer, hired HSBC Holdings Plc, Korea Development Bank, Morgan Stanley and Standard Chartered Plc to help it sell $300 million of bonds, according to three people familiar with the matter.
INTERNATIONAL CONTAINER TERMINAL SERVICES INC. (ICT), the Philippines’ largest port operator, plans to sell as much as $200 million of 10-year bonds, according to a person familiar with the matter. The company said in a regulatory filing it will add the notes to the $250 million of 7.375 percent bonds it sold in March. The filing didn’t disclose the planned size.
The PROVINCE OF CORDOBA, Argentina, plans to sell as much as $350 million of bonds in international markets once the federal government completes a restructuring of defaulted debt, Banco de Cordoba said.
SENSIENT TECHNOLOGIES CORP. said it entered into an agreement with a group of four financial institutions for the issuance of $110 million in fixed-rate, senior notes, according to a Nov. 19 statement distributed by Business Wire. The company plans to issue seven-year debt in May with a fixed coupon rate of 4.91 percent and proceeds will be used to repay existing indebtedness, Sensient said in a March 1 regulatory filing.
SKILLSOFT PLC, the provider of education software for businesses, plans to sell $310 million of eight-year notes, according to a person familiar with the offering.
BWAY HOLDING CO., the paint-container and aerosol-can maker being acquired by Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, plans to sell $200 million of notes to help pay for its acquisition, according to a person familiar with the offering. It is also seeking $565 million in bank debt, said the person, who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set.
INVENTIV HEALTH INC., the provider of sales and marketing services to science companies that is being acquired by Thomas H. Lee Partners, may sell $275 million of senior notes to back the purchase, it said in a regulatory filing.
CITGO PETROLEUM CORP., a U.S.-based unit of Petroleos de Venezuela SA, plans to sell $1.5 billion of notes due in 2017 and 2020, according to a person familiar with the offering.
WIRECO WORLDGROUP INC. plans to sell $275 million of senior notes, the company said in a statement distributed by PR Newswire. Proceeds from the sale will be used to repay debt maturing in 2015 and for general corporate purposes, the company said.
OMNICARE INC. (OCR), the provider of pharmacy services for U.S. nursing homes, plans to sell $300 million of bonds, the company said. Proceeds from the sale of the senior subordinated notes will be used to buy back $225 million of debt due in 2013 and for general corporate purposes, including repurchasing its common stock, it said.
KRATOS DEFENSE & SECURITY SOLUTIONS INC. (KTOS) may sell $200 million of seven-year notes, according to a person familiar with the offering. Proceeds from the sale may be used to pay for the acquisition of Gichner Holdings Inc. and for general corporate purposes, said the person, who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set.
MCE FINANCE LTD. (MPEL), a unit of Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd., plans to sell $600 million of senior notes in an international offering, according to a company statement.
HILLMAN COS. may sell $150 million of eight-year notes to help pay for its acquisition by Oak Hill Capital Partners, according to a person familiar with the offering.
AMERICOLD REALTY TRUST (ACRE), the operator of temperature-controlled warehouses owned by billionaire Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos., plans to sell $325 million of 10-year notes, according to a person familiar with the transaction. Proceeds from the sale of senior secured debt will be used to purchase assets from Versacold International Corp., said the person, who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set. Yucaipa owns 49 percent of Versacold with an option to purchase the rest, according to an April 15 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Moody’s ranks the debt Ba3.
RENAISSANCE CAPITAL, the commercial banking arm of Renaissance Group, is selling $225 million of three-year bonds with a 13 percent coupon, according to a banker with knowledge of the transaction. Moody’s assigned Renaissance an issuer rating of B2 and S&P affirmed its B ranking on the company.
LEARNING CARE GROUP NO. 2 INC. is planning to sell $265 million of payment-in-kind notes that can pay interest in the form of additional debt, according to a person familiar with the transaction. The company plans to issue five-year senior secured notes, of which 10.5 percent can be paid in cash and 2.5 percent in additional debt, said the person, who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set.
COMMUNITY EDUCATION CENTERS INC. plans to sell $210 million of six-year, senior secured notes that may yield 12.75 percent to 13 percent, according to a person familiar with the offering. The notes, which can’t be called for the first 3 1/2 years, will be sold in a private placement, said the person familiar with the transaction. The company, which initially planned to sell the debt in a 144A transaction, will borrow the money through a private offering. Proceeds from the sale may be used to repay debt, the person said. Jefferies & Co. is underwriting the sale.
PT CILIANDRA PERKASA, an Indonesian palm-oil company, may sell dollar bonds, a person familiar with the matter said. Ciliandra is a unit of Singapore-based First Resources Ltd.
AO ASTANA FINANCE will offer senior creditors $350 million of new bonds, as well as recovery notes and 58.9 percent of voting shares, the lender said in a statement published through the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange. Holders of Astana Finance’s domestic notes will be offered 20-year tenge-denominated bonds with an 8 percent coupon, the lender said in the statement, which was dated Oct. 16.
Offerings in Pipeline
JONES APPAREL GROUP INC. postponed an offering of $250 million of senior notes due 2018. The New York-based retailer is paying $180 million for a 55 percent stake in Stuart Weitzman Holdings LLC, a closely held maker of women’s apparel, according to a May 6 statement distributed by PR Newswire. Proceeds from the notes sale will be used for general corporate purposes and to help fund the acquisition, the company said. Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., SunTrust Banks Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. will manage the sale.
ESSAR STEEL HOLDINGS LTD. postponed a sale of dollar-denominated bonds amid rising investor concern over contagion from Europe’s debt crisis. Essar “decided to postpone their planned financing,” company spokesman Manish Kedia said in a statement.
BANCO CRUZEIRO DO SUL SA postponed an offering of 10-year dollar bonds after global market turmoil pushed up borrowing costs, the company said.
RENHE COMMERCIAL HOLDINGS CO. (1387), a developer of underground shopping malls in China, postponed an offering of five-year dollar bonds due to market conditions, according to a person familiar with the matter. Renhe, which will continue to monitor the market, hired Bank of America Corp., Bank of China Ltd., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and UBS AG to manage the sale.
CHINA ORIENTAL GROUP CO. plans to sell senior notes to provide working capital and the possibly to finance the purchase of steel mills and iron ore assets in China. Deutsche Bank AG will manage the sale with ING Groep NV, according to a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
DSW HOLDINGS INC., a unit of DS Waters Enterprises LP, postponed a $475 million sale of senior secured notes due in 2017, according to a person familiar with the transaction, who declined to be identified because the marketing is private.
OAO SBERBANK hired DZ Bank AG, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc to organize meetings with bond investors, according to a banker involved in the transaction.
TPG CAPITAL is planning to sell high-yield bonds to back its purchase of American Tire Distributors Holdings Inc., according to people familiar with the financing. Bank of America Corp. is leading both the asset-based loan and the bond offering, said the people, who declined to be identified because the discussions are private.
BANK FOR INVESTMENT & DEVELOPMENT OF VIETNAM received approval from the central bank to issue 7 trillion dong ($369 million) of notes and another 3 trillion dong ($158 million) worth of dollar-denominated notes in 2010, according to a statement on State Bank of Vietnam’s Web site.
METINVEST HOLDING LLC, Ukraine’s largest steelmaker, plans to sell dollar-denominated bonds in its first offering of international debt, according to a person with knowledge of the transaction. The Donetsk-based company controlled by Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov appointed BNP Paribas SA, Credit Suisse Group AG, ING Groep NV, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and VTB Capital to organize meetings with potential investors, the banker said.
BOLIVIA plans its first international bond sale in more than 70 years as early as the end of 2011, Finance Minister Luis Arce said. He didn’t disclose the size of the offering.
GLORIOUS PROPERTY HOLDINGS LTD. (845) postponed its first sale of dollar-denominated bonds, citing unfavorable market conditions. The postponement was disclosed in an e-mailed statement by an external spokeswoman for the Hong Kong-based bank. Glorious Property had planned to sell five-year bonds denominated in U.S. dollars, according to a person familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified before a public announcement. Glorious said in a filing that it had hired Deutsche Bank AG, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Standard Chartered Bank to manage the offering.
FIRSTRAND LTD. (FSR), South Africa’s second-largest banking group, said it postponed a planned sale of dollar bonds because of volatile market conditions. The sale may now take place later this year, Andries du Toit, group treasurer at FirstRand in Johannesburg, said in an interview.
KOREA FINANCE CORP. plans to sell $100 million to $200 million of foreign-currency bonds in its first overseas debt sale since October, Edaily reported, without citing anyone. The state-run agency also plans to sell $1 billion of global bonds in the U.S. in the second half of the year, the Korean-language online newspaper said.
NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL COOPERATIVE FEDERATION of South Korea, also known as Nonghyup, plans to raise as much as $500 million from foreign-currency bonds to repay debt, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The federation, which provides credit and banking services to farmers, plans to sell notes to help refinance about $600 million of bonds and loans, said the person, who asked not to be named as the plan is private. The bonds will probably be denominated in dollars, they said.
PTT PRODUCTION & EXPLORATION PCL (PTTEP), the Thai oil explorer, hired Credit Suisse Group AG and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc to help it sell global bonds, according to two people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified as the plan is private.
UNION BANK OF INDIA LTD. (UNBK) plans to sell bonds denominated in U.S. dollars, according to a person familiar with the matter. Barclays Plc, Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG and Standard Chartered Plc will manage the sale, the person said.
MALAYSIA may sell 10-year dollar denominated bonds in June, its first overseas debt offering in almost eight years, according to a finance ministry official with knowledge of the plan. The amount of notes to be offered will be in the region of “billions” of dollars, said the official, who declined to be identified because the deal is still being finalized.
POWER SECTOR ASSETS AND LIABILITIES MANAGEMENT CORP. of the Philippines sell between $750 million and $1.5 billion of dollar-denominated bonds “anytime” to help refinance maturing debt thru next year, Vice Chairman Jose Ibazeta said. The company manages the finances of state utility National Power Corp.
BRISBANE AIRPORT CORP., owner of Australia’s third-busiest airport, may sell bonds in the U.S. later this year as it pursues new markets to help refinance debt and pay for a new runway. The company is considering a 10- or 15-year U.S. private placement and a five- to seven-year Australian dollar bond sale in late 2010 or early 2011, Chief Financial Officer Tim Rothwell said in a phone interview from Brisbane.
VIETNAM NATIONAL COAL-MINERAL INDUSTRIES GROUP, the state-owned coal producer known as Vinacomin, plans to sell as much as $500 million of bonds overseas this year to fund mining and energy projects, according to Deputy Chief Executive Officer Nguyen Van Hai.
FINLAND may sell five-year bonds denominated in dollars this year, the Finnish Treasury said in a document posted on its Web site.
POLAND may sell around $1 billion of five-year dollar bonds in May “at the earliest” and yen-denominated debt by the end of the year, Deputy Finance Minister Dominik Radziwill said. The country is rated A2 at Moody’s and A- at S&P and Fitch Ratings.
MONGOLIA plans to sell as much as $1.2 billion of bonds overseas this year to fund infrastructure to support its mining industry, Finance Minister Sangajav Bayartsogt said. This is Mongolia’s first benchmark offering of dollar-denominated debt. Investment banks are advising Mongolia to issue debt with maturities of between five and 10 years, Bayartsogt said in an interview. The securities may offer a yield of between 8 percent and 11 percent, he said.
BIRCH COMMUNICATIONS INC. is offering $100 million of senior secured notes due in 2015, with proceeds going toward refinancing debt, buying outstanding warrants for its common stock and general corporate purposes, including acquisitions, the Atlanta-based company said Nov. 30 in a statement. On Feb. 1, Moody’s withdrew its B3 rating assigned to the company’s notes, citing “recent indications” that Birch “will complete its note issuance under terms that are different than those that supported the rating assignment,” analysts Gerald Grnovsky and Russell Solomon wrote in a note. Birch is rated B- by S&P, the ratings company wrote Dec. 4 in a statement. “We’re currently holding discussions with interested parties and expect to finalize our offering in the near term,” Greg Corwin, director of marketing for Birch, said in a Jan. 11 telephone interview. Corwin said the status of the deal was “unchanged” in a Feb. 17 interview.
(Updated Feb. 17.)
VIETNAM SHIPBUILDING INDUSTRY GROUP, the state-owned company known as Vinashin, won government approval to sell as much as $600 million of bonds overseas to fund construction of ships. Vinashin plans to raise between $400 million and $600 million in a dollar-denominated bond sale “with a government guarantee,” Chief Business Officer Nguyen Quoc Anh said in a phone interview from the northern port province of Quang Ninh.
ALROSA, Russia’s diamond monopoly, may sell as much as $1 billion in foreign-currency bonds in the second half of 2010, RIA Novosti reported, citing Chief Executive Officer Fyodor Andreyev. The company is rated Ba3 by Moody’s.
To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Catts in New York at email@example.com.