Cengage Said to Change Mix of $2.3 Billion Financing for Payout

Cengage Learning Inc., a textbook publisher that emerged from bankruptcy two years ago, is changing its borrowing plans to rely more on loans and less on bonds.

The company is increasing the loan component of the financing to $1.71 billion from $1.59 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The interest rate on the loan is being reduced to 4.25 percentage points over lending benchmarks from a previously discussed range of 4.5 percentage to 4.75 percentage points, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the deal is private.

The bond portion of the deal is being reduced to $620 million from $740 million, said another person familiar with the matter. The eight-year notes, which may be sold today, will yield between 9.25 percent and 9.5 percent.

Cengage is using proceeds of the financing to pay a $283 million dividend to its private-equity owners, according to Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings. Apax Partners, KKR & Co., Searchlight Capital and Centerbridge Partners are the company’s current majority shareholders, Cengage spokeswoman Lindsay Stanley said.

Cengage is also planning to obtain a $250 million asset-based line of credit, according to a May 23 statement from the company.

Apax and Omers Capital Partners bought Cengage in 2007 from Thomson Reuters Corp. for $7.75 billion in a deal partly funded with $5.6 billion in borrowings. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July as debt-payment deadlines loomed and sales declined.

Cengage emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2014.

Moody’s Investors Service rated the bonds Caa1. S&P Global Ratings graded the notes an equivalent CCC+.

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