McKesson Obtains $5.5 Billion Bridge Loan Backing Celesio Buy

McKesson Corp., the largest U.S. pharmaceutical distributor, obtained a $5.5 billion bridge loan to support its purchase of Germany’s Celesio AG.

Bank of America Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are arranging the 364-day financing, the San Francisco-based company said in a regulatory filing today. Terms under the commitment require that McKesson maintains a debt-to-capital ratio of no more than 65 percent, according to the filing.

McKesson agreed to buy the 50.01 percent stake of Celesio held by Franz Haniel & Cie GmbH for about 3.9 billion euros ($5.4 billion) as it seeks to boost its share of the growing global generic-drug market, according to a statement yesterday. The transaction, including assumption of Celesio’s debt, is valued at $8.3 billion.

Proceeds of the bridge loan will pay for the acquisition and related fees, according to the company. McKesson has about $4.88 billion of debt, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The permanent financing structure will be determined by the timing and threshold of the remaining shares of Celesio obtained in the tender offers,” Kris Fortner, a spokesman for McKesson, wrote in an e-mailed statement. “McKesson is committed to maintaining its status as an investment-grade rated company in the final permanent financing structure.”

Reuters first reported the bridge financing earlier today.

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 debt.

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