Author: CAM

15 Jun 2018

CAM High Yield Weekly Insights

Fund Flows & Issuance:  According to a Wells Fargo report, flows week to date were $0.5 billion and year to date flows stand at -$28.1 billion.  New issuance for the week was $2.0 billion and year to date HY is at $94.7 billion, which is -29% over the same period last year. 


(Bloomberg)  High Yield Market Highlights

  • Junk bond spreads have dropped to an 8-week low — just 18bps from the tightest in 10 years — as investors seem to shrug off geopolitical tensions, fears of trade war and rates volatility. Supply is tight and fund inflows have resumed.
  • High yield index spread closed at +329
  • CCC spreads have dropped 53bps YTD to close at 5-month low of +562
  • For returns, CCCs continued to top BBs and single-Bs
  • High yield supply thin, retail funds seeing cash inflows
  • Summer is likely to see issuance picking up as acquisitions and buyouts gain some momentum
  • Moody’s survey of non-financial companies finds that 65% of them were better off with the 2017 tax cut and they expect to use additional cash to repay debt, and to a lesser extent, repurchase stocks


(Fierce Wireless)  Sprint slashes data prices with $15 unlimited plan for those willing to switch

  • Sprint has unveiled one of the most aggressive wireless promotions yet, offering unlimited data, talk, and text for just $15 per line per month. The offer is for people who are switching to Sprint from another carrier. It can only be activated online, and does not require a contract.
  • By undercutting its competitors on price, Sprint is making several points. First, the carrier appears confident that its network can handle a lot more traffic and perform as well as those of its competitors. Second, despite a major investment in new Sprint retail stores across the country, Sprint would rather sign up its new customers online than in person. Third, Sprint is not content to languish in fourth place in the U.S. market while it waits to see if U.S. regulators will approve its merger with T-Mobile next year.
  • And finally, Sprint is underlining the point that a wireless market with four operators invites aggressive price promotion. Washington wants to see a competitive wireless market, but it doesn’t necessarily want to see carriers cutting prices to a point that threatens their ability to invest in next-generation networks.
  • The promotion also underscores the cutthroat nature of a four-carrier wireless market. Some analysts say a three-carrier market is likely to result in fewer discounts for customers. This is a negative for consumers in the short term, but could be positive in the longer term, according to some analysts.
  • Analyst Joe Madden of Mobile Experts has pointed out that in countries with just three carriers, higher margins create the financial opportunity for carriers to invest in new technologies, which ultimately lead to more value for consumers. Consumers may not see rock-bottom data prices, but they are able to get a lot more data for each dollar they spend. This is the type of argument that will almost certainly be made in Washington as the Justice Department and the FCC consider the proposed merger of Sprint and T-Mobile.


(Bloomberg)  OPEC Highlights Demand Uncertainty Before Crucial Meeting

  • OPEC emphasized the deep uncertainty over the strength of demand for its oil just a week before contentious talks on whether to raise production.
  • There’s a “wide forecast range” for how much crude the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries needs to pump in the second half of the year, its research department said in a monthly report. With a range of uncertainty of 1.7 million barrels a day, demand could either be significantly higher, or slightly lower, than OPEC’s current output.
  • “Looking at various sources, considerable uncertainty as to world oil demand and non-OPEC supply prevails,” said the report, published by OPEC’s secretariat in Vienna. “This outlook for the second half of 2018 warrants close monitoring.”
  • OPEC and its allies will debate whether to revive halted output when they gather in Vienna next week. Saudi Arabia and Russia have said they want to raise supplies to prevent high prices hurting economic growth, but opposition among other producers is growing.


(Moody’s)  Moody’s Downgrades Tenneco’s Debt Ratings

  • The rating actions incorporate Tenneco’s proposed capital structure related to financing its planned acquisition of Federal-Mogul LLC (Federal-Mogul), a leading global supplier to automotive original equipment manufacturers and the aftermarket. On a pro forma basis for 2017, the transaction will increase Tenneco’s leverage to over 4x inclusive of estimated synergies, from 2.4x. This is transformational for Tenneco, both the acquisition of Federal Mogul as well as the plan to separate into two separate businesses with one focused on Aftermarket & Ride Performance and the other on Powertrain Technology.
  • Tenneco is expected to acquire Federal-Mogul from affiliates of Icahn Enterprises L.P. for $5.4 billion. This is about a 7.2x multiple of Tenneco’s calculation of Federal-Mogul’s 2017 adjusted EBITDA (pre synergies). The acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2018, subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals and other customary closing conditions.
  • The ratings reflect the significant increase in leverage, with the expectation that improvement is unlikely over the near term, as approximately 75% of the synergies will not be realized until late 2019. Pro Forma debt/EBITDA is estimated at 4.8x, and about 4.2x adjusting for Tenneco’s projected synergies. The ratings also reflect a number of near-term execution risks including: operating the ongoing businesses while both integrating certain operations related to the planned separation; and implementing programs to achieve the planned synergies and working capital improvements.

(CAM Note)  S&P and Fitch have also downgraded the debt of Tenneco


(CNN)  Fed raises interest rates and signals faster hikes on the way

  • The Federal Reserve on Wednesday lifted its benchmark rate by a quarter of a percentage point, the second hike this year.
  • And a majority of policy makers said they now expect a total of four interest rate increases this year. Fed officials had been split about whether to raise rates three times this year or four.
  • The decision reflected an economy that’s getting even stronger. Unemployment is 3.8%, the lowest since 2000, and inflation is creeping higher. The Fed is raising rates gradually to keep the economy from overheating.
  • “The main takeaway is that the economy is doing very well,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said at a news conference. “Most people who want to find jobs are finding them, and unemployment and inflation are low.”
30 May 2018

CAM High Yield Weekly Insights

Fund Flows & Issuance:  According to a Wells Fargo report, flows week to date were $0.3 billion and year to date flows stand at -$26.2 billion.  New issuance for the week was $4.2 billion and year to date HY is at $89.1 billion, which is -23% over the same period last year. 


(Bloomberg)  High Yield Market Highlights

  • Supply-starved U.S. junk bond investors feasted on CCC and PIK deals yesterday, despite choppy stocks and softening oil prices. Four new deals for $1.4b priced, led by CCC and PIK credits, and funds saw a modest inflow.
  • Junk bond spreads, yields were little changed
  • Triple-C credits traded above issue price reflecting the risk-on mood, even as oil prices dropped for a third straight session
  • Atotech, a CCC PIK, priced within talk and traded at 99.625, above issue price
  • TMXFIN, also CCC, priced at wide end of talk, traded at 101.375 yesterday afternoon, well above issue price
  • CCCs beat BBs and single-Bs with YTD return of 2%
  • High yield operating in an overall friendly environment with light supply, low defaults, steady domestic growth


(Bloomberg)  Goldman Says Riskiest Junk Bonds Are Most `Mispriced’ Since 2007

  • The C-C-Craze for some of the riskiest corporate credits has gone too far, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
  • While U.S. investment-grade bonds that are most sensitive to moves in borrowing costs have been hit hard this year, investors continue to pile into debt sold by some of the weakest junk-rated companies. Bonds in the CCC category — just two notches above default — have returned a whopping 330 basis points in total this year, according to Bloomberg index data.
  • That outperformance has helped push spreads on the Bank of America Merrill Lynch gauge of CCC rated debt to below 700 basis points earlier this week — the smallest premium since July 2014.
  • Meanwhile, Goldman’s preferred valuation measure of corporate credit, which subtracts their projected expected-loss rates from current spreads, shows U.S. high-yield obligations are now mispriced for even the most benign scenarios.
  • “In a nutshell, the CRP is the expected excess return on a buy-and-hold strategy of diversified credit portfolios over a five-year period,” write Goldman analysts led by Chief Credit Strategist Lotif Karoui in a note. “Put differently, the CRP is the extra premium earned by investors as compensation for future default losses.”
  • Goldman estimates the credit-risk premium for CCC obligations has sunk to a negative 53 basis points, “even under a fairly optimistic assumption of no recession for the next five years.”
  • That’s the lowest level since before the financial crisis, when the CRP touched negative 420 basis points in June 2007, at the height of the froth in the global debt market. It suggests investors are likely accepting credit risk without adequate compensation.


(CNBC)  HCA and KKR team up for Envision bid

  • S. hospital operator HCA Healthcare and private-equity firm KKR have joined forces to make an offer for U.S. physician services provider Envision Healthcare
  • The move is aimed at giving HCA and KKR an edge over buyout firms that are also pursuing Envision, which has a market capitalization of $5.1 billion and long-term debt of $4.6 billion, the sources said.
  • HCA, which has a market capitalization of $36 billion and long-term debt of $31.6 billion, wants to acquire Envision’s AmSurg ambulatory surgery business, with KKR taking the over the remainder, according to the sources.
  • Nashville-based Envision has asked potential acquirers to submit final offers later this month, sources said. Other private-equity firms competing for Envision include a consortium of Carlyle Group and TPG Global, sources added.
  • Envision announced last year it was reviewing a range of strategic alternatives after reporting disappointing third-quarter earnings, which it attributed partly to the effects of hurricanes Harvey and Irma as well as a slowdown in the growth of patient demand.
  • Last year, Envision agreed to sell its ambulance unit, AMR, to Air Medical, a medical helicopter business owned by KKR, for $2.4 billion.
  • The year prior, it merged with AmSurg in an all-stock deal that valued the combined companies at the time at around $10 billion. HCA’s and KKR’s bid would reverse that combination.


(Reuters)  Cheniere moves ahead with Corpus Christi LNG expansion 

  • Cheniere Energy Inc said on Tuesday it had approved the construction of a third liquefaction unit, known as a train, at its Corpus Christi export terminal in Texas, the first new liquefied natural gas project to go ahead in the United States since 2015.
  • The positive investment decision on the 4.5 million-tonne per annum (Mtpa) LNG train comes as Washington and Beijing have stepped back from the brink of a trade war and agreed to hold further talks to boost U.S. exports to China.
  • China, which is turning to natural gas to reduce its dependency on coal for power, overtook South Korea last year to become the world’s No. 2 LNG buyer. Companies with U.S. projects say China could use LNG imports to reduce a trade surplus with the United States.
  • For its part, Cheniere signed long-term deals with China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) in February, earmarking 1.2 Mtpa of the output from Corpus Christi Train 3 for the state-owned oil and gas firm.
  • The first two trains at Corpus Christi are expected to enter service next year. There is no timeline for the third train, though the builds generally take about four years each.
18 May 2018

CAM High Yield Weekly Insights

Fund Flows & Issuance:  According to a Wells Fargo report, flows week to date were -$0.8 billion and year to date flows stand at -$26.5 billion.  New issuance for the week was $1.6 billion and year to date HY is at $84.8 billion, which is -23% over the same period last year. 


(Bloomberg)  High Yield Market Highlights

  • Despite all the hullabaloo about rising rates, U.S. high yield investors bought three CCC-rated deals in the primary, led by Valeant.
  • Valeant dropped a senior secured tranche, increased size of a term loan
  • Bond priced at tight end of talk, received orders of more than $5.5b
  • SRS Distribution and Hearthside funded aggressive buyouts by private equity
  • Investors showed restraint, demanding appropriate risk premia
  • Both deals priced at wide end of talk
  • Both made material covenant changes to strengthen investor protection
  • Investors ignored outflows from retail funds
  • CCCs beat BBs and single-Bs with a return of 2.03% YTD
  • IG’s YTD return is negative 4.15%
  • Lack of supply, combined with low default rate and decent corporate earnings, boosts risk-on sentiment for junk bonds
  • High yield is expected to be tested in the second half of the year by supply from Blackstone funding the buyout of financial and risk businesses from Thomson Reuters, Carlyle Group funding for acquisition of specialty chemicals business from AkzoNobel


(Multichannel News)  Charter’s Enterprise Unit Earmarks $1B-Plus for Fiber Plan

  • Spectrum Enterprise, a unit of Charter Communications focuses on the large business services segment, said it will invest more than $1 billion in 2018 to increase the density of its national fiber network.
  • Charter said this will be the second straight year in which the company has invested in excess of $1 billion exclusively in Spectrum Enterprise, which will be looking to expand on a network of nearly 200,000 fiber-lit buildings.
  • Spectrum Enterprise will absorb the bulk of the upfront costs of fiber construction for most new enterprise clients in its footprint for solutions such as Fiber Internet Access, Ethernet and voice trunks.
  • The investment will also come to add fiber density as wired networks become a significant backhaul channel for a coming wave of 5G-based services and other bandwidth-intensive offerings.
  • “As fiber connectivity has become fundamental to economic growth, we are focused on making our fiber infrastructure more accessible to clients, and reshaping their experience to align with the evolving realities of today’s modern enterprise,” Phil Meeks, EVP and president of Spectrum Enterprise, said in a statement. “Advanced video and virtual reality solutions, cloud, IoT and the future of 5G all depend on a reliable and highly-dense fiber network. Our commitment is to ensure that our clients have the most robust fiber network and solutions to grow today and take advantage of future technologies that have immense demands on bandwidth.”


(PR Newswire)  Steel Dynamics to Acquire CSN Heartland Flat Roll Operations

  • Steel Dynamics, Inc. announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Heartland from CSN Steel, S.L.U., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Companhia Siderurgica Nacional.  Located in Terre Haute, Indiana, Heartland produces various types of higher-margin, flat roll steel by further processing hot roll coils into pickle and oil, cold roll, and galvanized products.  Steel Dynamics has agreed to purchase Heartland for $400 millionin cash inclusive of $60 million of normalized working capital, subject to customary transaction purchase price adjustments.  Steel Dynamics believes the purchase price approximates current replacement value.  The transaction is expected to be accretive to near-term earnings and cash flow per share.  The acquisition will expand Steel Dynamics’ annual flat roll steel shipping capacity to 8.4 million tons and total shipping capability to 12.4 million tons.  The additional exposure to lighter-gauge and greater width flat roll steel offerings will broaden the Company’s value-added product portfolio, enhancing Steel Dynamics position as a leading North American steel producer.
  • “The acquisition of Heartland represents a step in the continuation of our growth strategy,” said Mark D. Millett, Chief Executive Officer. “It levers our core strengths, and at the same time fulfills our initiatives to further increase value-added product and market diversification.  We look forward to welcoming the Heartland employees and customers into the Steel Dynamics family, and working with them to drive future growth and success.
  • “We have positioned our capital structure and organizational framework for growth,” continued Millett, “and we believe this acquisition will result in numerous future earnings benefits both to Heartland’s current operations and to our Midwest flat roll operations.  In combination with our current operations, Heartland brings a tremendous amount of operating flexibility and optionality.  As a part of our broader business platform, Heartland is expected to provide numerous synergies with our existing operations, and we look forward to levering these opportunities in the future.”


(Bloomberg)  Teva Rises After Berkshire Hathaway Boosts Stake in Drugmaker

  • Teva Pharmaceutical shares rose after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. more than doubled its stake in the struggling Israeli drugmaker, a vote of confidence in Chief Executive Officer Kare Schultz’s turnaround effort.
  • Berkshire Hathaway owns 40.5 million American depositary receipts in Teva, Buffett’s company said in a regulatory filing Tuesday. The Omaha, Nebraska-based company made its initial investment in Teva last year.
  • Saddled with debt, Teva has been cutting its workforce and closing factories to cut costs. The company this month raised its 2018 profit forecast as Schultz’s belt-tightening program begins to take hold. Teva has been hurt by falling margins on knockoff drugs and rapidly declining sales for its best-selling product, the multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone.
  • Buffett, 87, has handed some of his stock-picking duties to Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, who together oversee about $25 billion. Berkshire hired Combs in late 2010 and Weschler about a year later. Buffett said in February that the Teva investment was made by one of his deputy stock pickers and he didn’t know the reasoning behind the decision.


(CNBC)  Williams to buy rest of Williams Partners in $10.5 billion deal

  • Pipeline operator The Williams Cos. said on Thursday it would buy the remaining 26 percent stake that it does not already own in its master limited partnership, William Partners, for $10.5 billion. Williams would give 1.494 of its shares for each share of Williams Partners, with the offer representing a premium of 6.4 percent based on Wednesday’s closing price.
  • The company said the deal will immediately add to cash available to dividends extending the period for which the company is not expected to be cash taxpayer through 2024.
  • The deal simplifies Williams’ corporate structure, streamlines governance and maintains investment-grade credit ratings, the company said.
  • (CAM Note) Moody’s and Fitch has moved the debt of Williams Companies to under review for upgrade on the news.
11 May 2018

CAM High Yield Weekly Insights

Fund Flows & Issuance:  According to a Wells Fargo report, flows week to date were -$1.1 billion and year to date flows stand at -$25.6 billion.  New issuance for the week was $4.7 billion and year to date HY is at $83.2 billion, which is -20% over the same period last year.   


(Bloomberg)  High Yield Market Highlights 

  • CCC yields saw the biggest drop since October 2017 as U.S. high yield firmed with rising oil and growing appetite for risk assets.
  • High yield spread fell to 336bps from 343bps at the start of the week
  • Investors, starved of supply, shrugged off outflows from retail funds
  • Most of the Primary issuance was the $3.2b issued on Wednesday
  • High-yield is best performing asset class in fixed income, led by CCCs
  • CCCs beats BBs, single-Bs, with positive YTD return of 1.90%
  • IG bonds have lost 3.46% this year
  • CCC spread also tightened most in 6 months yesterday
  • Moody’s said the U.S. speculative-grade default rate was projected to decline to 1.5% by April 2019


(Bloomberg)  Arconic Cuts Outlook on Higher Aluminum Costs

  • Arconic Inc. sold off after the company slashed its forecast because of rising aluminum prices and business inefficiencies.
  • Adjusted profit will be 18 percent less than the previous estimate, the New York-based metals maker said in a statement. That trailed the lowest estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
  • “It is clear that we have areas in need of operational improvement,” Chief Executive Officer Chip Blankenship, who took the reins in January, said in the statement. “We are updating our full year 2018 guidance due to rising aluminum prices and my deeper understanding of our operations.”
  • The comments reflect Blankenship’s challenge as he looks to revitalize Arconic after a bitter battle with Elliott Management Corp. last year. He has already pledged to review Arconic’s strategy and portfolio while moving the headquarters to a lower-cost location. More recently, growing tensions over aluminum and steel tariffs, as well as U.S. sanctions on Russian aluminum giant United Co. Rusal, have roiled metals producers and their customers.


(Hollywood Reporter)  AMC Entertainment Posts Higher First-Quarter Earnings, Beats Estimates

  • Cinema giant AMC Entertainment posted higher first-quarter earnings and revenues on the strength of Black Panther and Jumanji‘s box-office returns and its Nordic Cinema Group Holding acquisition internationally.
  • Net earnings for the three months to March 31 climbed to $17.7 million against a year-earlier $8.4 million. Overall revenues rose 8 percent to $1.387 billion, exceeding a $1.35 billion analyst forecast.
  • “We are truly heartened by AMC’s start to 2018 and couldn’t be more excited about the prospects for the year after the record-breaking success of Avengers: Infinity Warearly in the second quarter,” AMC CEO Adam Aron said in a statement.
  • During an analyst call that followed the release of his latest results, the AMC boss took a bullish stance on his company’s prospects going forward, as Aron pointed to a bounce-back in early 2018 box office on the strength of Black Panther and Avengers ticket receipts after the “painful depths” of the summer 2017 multiplex business.
  • The exec argued market analysts who had questioned the prospects of movie theaters amid the rise of streaming content competition like Netflix and Amazon Prime had been proven wrong. “When Hollywood makes movies that people want to see, they flock to our theaters and they do so in huge numbers,” Aron added.


(Business Wire)  B&G Foods Reports Financial Results for First Quarter 2018

  • Base business net sales for the first quarter of 2018 increased $1.1 million, or 0.3%, to $411.1 million from $410.0 million for the first quarter of 2017. The $1.1 million increase was attributable to an increase in net pricing of $1.2 million, or 0.3%, partially offset by a decrease in unit volume of $0.1 million.
  • For the first quarter of 2018, adjusted EBITDA, which excludes acquisition-related and non-recurring expenses and the non-cash accounting impact of the Company’s inventory reduction plan, was $89.4 million, a decrease of 2.9%, or $2.6 million, compared to $92.0 million for the first quarter of 2017. Adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of net sales was 20.7% for the first quarter of 2018.
  • Robert C. Cantwell, President and Chief Executive Officer of B&G Foods stated, “When we laid out our vision for 2018 earlier this year, we expressed our belief that during 2018 we would return to modest growth, stable margins and strong free cash flow generation, benefiting in part from our inventory reduction plan, and we delivered on those expectations in the first quarter.”
  • B&G Foods reaffirmed its guidance for full year 2018. Net sales are expected to be approximately $1.720 billion to $1.755 billion, adjusted EBITDA is expected to be approximately $347.5 million to $365.0 million and adjusted diluted earnings per share is expected to be approximately $2.05 to $2.25.
07 May 2018

CAM High Yield Weekly Insights

Fund Flows & Issuance:  According to a Wells Fargo report, flows week to date were $0.7 billion and year to date flows stand at -$24.4 billion.  New issuance for the week was $3.2 billion and year to date HY is at $78.5 billion, which is -21% over the same period last year. 


(Bloomberg)  High Yield Market Highlights

  • Junk bond issuance and inflows have resumed, with CCC-rated LBO supply highlighting the strength of risk appetite. Lipper reported an inflow for week ended May 2 after an outflow the prior week.
  • Four deals for $1.34b priced yesterday, two of them CCC credits
  • GFL Environmental, rated CCC, did a drive-by to fund an LBO by an investor consortium led by BC Partners
  • Strong fundamentals and steady growth are boosting junk bonds
  • Oil is hovering near a 3 year high amid reports that OPEC was likely to extend production cuts into 2019
  • Consensus at Milken Institute conference this week was that the credit markets would have a few more years of a smooth run as global growth was steady and fundamentals were sound
  • Credit cycle will extend, and there’s no fear of imminent recession
  • CCCs continued to top BBs, B, stocks and IG, with YTD positive returns of 1.25%
  • Stocks report negative returns YTD 1.06% and IG negative 3.38%
  • Moody’s notes that the number of companies rated B3 or lower declined and was down 22% from a year ago and 35% from its peak in 2016
  • “Decreasing number of lower-rated corporate issuers is a sign of declining or low default rate risk in the year ahead,” Moody’s analyst Julia Churson wrote
  • Moody’s forecasts default rate to decline to 1.7% by March 2019, helped by rising corporate earnings, abetted by fiscal stimulus


(Wall Street Journal)  Watch Out: Junk Bonds Getting Junkier

  • One thing owners of junk bonds are usually sure of is that when the borrower defaults, they will get a veto on cash going to shareholders, to junior debtors or into new deals.
  • Not any more. Junk bonds financing private-equity firm KKR & Co.’s latest buyout subvert the usual order by allowing such payments to go ahead even after a formal default.
  • The $1.4 billion of bonds, to repay temporary borrowing for the buyout of Unilever PLC’s margarine business, mark a new low in the quality of covenants protecting lenders and are yet another sign of the wall of money chasing the higher yield on offer from junk bonds.
  • Several recent bonds have allowed what are known as restricted payments even when a company is in technical default — so that, for example, a planned takeover or joint venture wouldn’t be derailed.
  • Flora Food Group, Unilever’s business, appears to be the first explicitly to allow them after a formal “event of default,” which should put creditors at the front of the line.
  • This matters when it comes to assessing the risk of the market as a whole. Junk-bond enthusiasts tend to highlight the yield spread over Treasurys, which in the U.S. is much higher now than it was at the end of the last bull market in 2007 and about where it stood in 2014.
  • But the weakening of covenants means that losses are likely to be bigger if there is another wave of defaults, which ought to justify lower prices, and so higher spreads over Treasurys.


(New York Times)  Sprint and T-Mobile C.E.O.s Are in Washington to Sell Their Merger

  • From the moment T-Mobile and Sprint announced their $26.5 billion merger on Sunday, the wireless carriers have positioned their proposed deal with an eye toward Washington. After all, regulators in the Obama administration blocked one of their previous efforts to combine.
  • This time around, the chief executives of the companies emphasized that merging would help them to:
  • Build a next-generation wireless network, one robust enough to keep up with China in a growing technological arms race; Create thousands of jobs, especially in rural areas; Keep prices low for consumers, especially as cable companies like Comcast try to enter the market.
  • The heads of both companies began a charm offensive in Washington on Tuesday


(Knowledge@Wharton)  T-Mobile and Sprint: Will the Deal Go Through?

  • T-Mobile and Sprint, the nation’s third and fourth largest wireless telecom companies, have been trying to tie the knot for years. But concerns that regulators won’t approve a merger because it would reduce competition have kept them apart. Their antitrust concerns are not unfounded: In 2011, the U.S. Justice Department torpedoed AT&T’s planned $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile. Three years later, Obama’s FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler, bluntly told Sprint he was skeptical such a deal would be approved.
  • That was then, this is now. Today’s FCC is more business friendly, chaired by Republican Ajit Pai and with a GOP majority among its commissioners.
  • But has the environment changed sufficiently that T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint will not be dead on arrival in Washington? “I’d be very surprised if Ajit went along with this,” said Gerald Faulhaber, Wharton professor emeritus of business economics and public policy and former FCC chief economist.
  • This is the third time that T-Mobile and Sprint reportedly talked about merging — and the same challenges remain. “I’d be surprised if the third time is a charm. Market shares are pretty high. Post-merger, you’d have three firms with more than 30% of the market each. Under the orthodox approach that the merger guidelines take, that would be a clearly challengeable merger,” said Herbert Hovenkamp, a Penn Integrates Knowledge professor at the University of Pennsylvania, with dual appointments at Wharton and Penn Law
  • Hovenkamp pointed to another hurdle: Unlike other wireless telecom mergers that need approval by both the FCC and Justice Department, this one also needs to be greenlit by The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). That’s because T-Mobile is owned by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom and Sprint is majority owned by SoftBank of Japan. “We’ve got three agencies this time that need to approve this merger,” he said.
  • Moreover, the committee, which falls under the U.S. Treasury, is subject to the presidential executive order, Hovenkamp said. In March, the Trump administration sank the acquisition of U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm by Broadcom, a U.S. chipmaker acquired by a Singaporean company that is now relocating back to America. Trump “could probably do that this time again,” he said. “There’s a whole lot of uncertainty facing this merger.”




27 Apr 2018

CAM High Yield Weekly Insights

Fund Flows & Issuance:  According to a Wells Fargo report, flows week to date were -$2.0 billion and year to date flows stand at -$25.1 billion.  New issuance for the week was $6.2 billion and year to date HY is at $75.2 billion, which is -22% over the same period last year. 


(Bloomberg)  High Yield Market Highlights

  • Despite another week of substantial fund outflow, junk bonds appear to have found support. BB yields fell the most in more than five months as Treasuries firmed, equities rebounded, the VIX fell and oil steadied.
  • Stung by the recent rise in Treasury yields and equity volatility, nervous high yield investors once again withdrew cash from high yield funds
  • High yield primary looked resilient as new issues saw strong demand this week
  • WeWork, a single-B credit with uncertain cash flow, got orders of ~$2.5b-$3b
  • Flora Food increased size of issuance and priced at tight end of talk
  • Jagged Peak Energy had orders 5x the size of the original offering, also priced at tight end of talk
  • CCCs continued to outperform BBs and single-Bs, with positive YTW returns of 1.11%, reflecting willingness of investors to add credit risk


(Reuters)  T-Mobile, Sprint make progress in talks, aim for deal next week

  • S. wireless carriers T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp have made progress in negotiating merger terms and are aiming to successfully complete deal talks as early as next week, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
  • The combined company would have more than 127 million customers and could create more formidable competition for the No.1 and No.2 wireless players, Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc, amid a race to expand offerings in 5G, the next generation of wireless technology.
  • T-Mobile majority-owner Deutsche Telekom and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp, which controls Sprint, are considering an agreement that would dictate how they exercise voting control over the combined company, two of the sources said.
  • This could allow Deutsche Telekom to consolidate the combined company on its books, even without owning a majority stake, the sources added. Deutsche Telekom owns more than 63 percent of T-Mobile, while SoftBank owns 84.7 percent of Sprint.
  • Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile are also in the process of finalising the debt financing package they will use to fund the deal, the sources said.


(Business Wire)  Spectrum Brands Holdings Reports Fiscal 2018 Second Quarter Results 

  • Spectrum Brands reported results from continuing operations for the second quarter of fiscal 2018 and lowered its fiscal 2018 full-year guidance.
  • Separately this morning, the Company announced that Executive Chairman David M. Maura has been named Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately, replacing Andreas Rouvé, who has stepped down as CEO and a Director, and that its Board of Directors has authorized a new three-year, $1 billion share repurchase program.
  • Spectrum Brands announced on January 3, 2018 that it was exploring strategic options for its Global Batteries & Appliances (GBA) businesses with the intention to sell the units by December 31, 2018. As a result, effective with the Company’s fiscal 2018 first quarter financial results, the GBA segment has been reclassified as held for sale and is now reported as discontinued operations for the second quarter and six months of fiscal 2018 and the comparable prior-year periods.
  • “While our second quarter performance was very disappointing, we believe it is in no way reflective of the underlying earnings power of our continuing operations,” said David Maura, Chief Executive Officer of Spectrum Brands Holdings.
  • “The challenges related to our two greenfield manufacturing and distribution projects were meaningfully greater than we expected. As we brought our East Coast distribution center into our new Hardware & Home Improvement facility in Edgerton, Kansas at the end of February, we experienced facility-wide disruptions which hampered distribution capabilities materially in March,” Maura said. “Our Global Auto Care facility in Dayton struggled at higher production levels in March, which led to significant inefficiencies and shipping challenges.
  • “Given these issues, sales of about $30 million from in-house orders could not be shipped by quarter-end due to higher customer order backlogs at our HHI and GAC facilities, and we are working to return them to normal efficiency levels,” he said. “In addition, cold and wet weather in March hurt Home & Garden revenues by about $10 million as POS declined and retailers delayed orders into April.
  • “Our Pet business was impacted, as expected, by the exit of a European pet food customer tolling agreement and from lost rawhide distribution from our recall of last spring that we will lap in June,” Maura said. “Together, these items total about $12 million of revenues in our Pet business.
  • “In addition, external cost headwinds and mix combined to deliver a significant negative impact on our sales and margins,” Maura said. “While we expect improvement in the back half of the year, the magnitude of our second quarter shortfall and manufacturing and distribution center start-up inefficiencies has caused us to lower our full-year adjusted EBITDA guidance from continuing operations by $57 million at the mid-point and adjusted free cash flow on a total company basis by $135 million.”
17 Apr 2018

CAM High Yield Weekly Insights

Fund Flows & Issuance:  According to a Wells Fargo report, flows week to date were $0.6 billion and year to date flows stand at -$23.6 billion.  New issuance for the week was $3.7 billion and year to date HY is at $65.0 billion, which is -27% over the same period last year. 


(Bloomberg)  High Yield Market Highlights

  • Junk bond spreads tightened the most in nine weeks and CCC yields fell to a 5-week low as U.S. funds saw inflows and the year-to-date return turned positive.
  • Yields dropped across ratings in 6 of the last 9 sessions and have fallen for 4 consecutive sessions this week, amid strong technicals boosted by light supply, and WTI oil at a 40-month high
  • Spreads have narrowed in seven of last nine sessions
  • Year-to-date returns for junk bonds turned positive for the first time since early February, with a gain of 0.05% in the index, compared to a 2.38% loss in IG
  • Resilient junk bonds brought investors home after more than 10 weeks of no material inflow
  • Rebounding equities, steadily declining volatility — with the VIX hovering near and below 20 for last two weeks — boosted junk bonds
  • Supply is expected to be light as the earnings season was in progress
  • New issue pricing reinforced the strength of high yield as Drax Finco and J.B. Poindexter priced at the tight end of talk, with orders more than 3x the offer
  • Earlier this week, TopBuild advanced its pricing schedule, increased the size of the offer, priced at the middle of talk, suggesting junk investors were not avoiding risk
  • CCCs continued to outperform BBs and single Bs, with positive YTD returns of 1.25%, BBs were the worst with negative YTD returns of 0.92%, single-Bs turned positive with 0.54%


(Reuters)  Icahn to sell Federal-Mogul to Tenneco for $5.4 billion 

  • Activist investor Carl Icahn said on Tuesday he was selling auto parts maker Federal-Mogul to Tenneco Inc in a $5.4 billion deal, unloading an investment he has held for nearly two decades and picking up a new stake in Tenneco.
  • Tenneco plans to separate into two independent, publicly traded companies – one focusing on powertrain products and the other on auto parts such as suspensions and axle dampers – after the deal closes.
  • The new bulked up powertrain technology company will likely benefit from the fact that internal combustion engine parts and tailpipe exhaust scrubbing technology will be needed by automakers for a long time to come, before they can be replaced by newer technologies such as fully electric cars.
  • The aftermarket parts company would provide a potentially steady cash flow.
  • “Going to market with well-recognized brands, more product categories, greater coverage and expanded distribution capabilities is a strong formula for capturing growth, particularly in China,” Tenneco Executive Chairman Gregg Sherrill said.


(Forbes)  Why T-Mobile And Sprint Are Rekindling Their Merger Talks

  • Sprint and T-Mobile appear to be back at the negotiating table, marking the third time that the two companies are exploring a potential combination. While a potential merger is likely a net positive for both companies and the broader U.S. wireless industry, it remains unclear as to how much has changed since the two companies called off their last round of merger talks in 2017.
  • The biggest reason the two carriers are looking to restart talks is likely to avoid the duplication of future capital expenditures, as the wireless industry transitions from 4G technology to next-generation 5G technology. Sprint has a deep portfolio of 2.5 GHz spectrum holdings that could be used for 5G deployment, allowing the combined company to avoid some outlays that they may otherwise have to undertake individually. Moreover, wireless is a very high fixed cost business, on account of sizable network operation and maintenance costs as well as sales and marketing expenses. The present value of synergies stemming from a deal could stand at upwards of $20 billion.Additionally, the carriers may also have better pricing power in a saturating wireless market if a deal goes through.
  • The last round of talks fell through in late 2017, as the two companies were unable to agree on who would have control over the combined entity, and it’s not clear how much has changed since last year. T-Mobile’s majority owner Deutsche Telekom (which owns a ~63% stake) apparently views its ability to consolidate T-Mobile’s earnings with its financials as key, given that the U.S. carrier is one of its most valuable assets. This means that the company could be willing to put in more money to increase its effective stake in the joint entity and retain control. While Sprint is likely to have less bargaining leverage in a potential deal, considering its comparatively challenging financial position, with over $30 billion in long-term debt, its parent Softbank may still want to keep control of the joint entity. Softbank has been doubling down on the Internet of Things space, and it’s likely that it views Sprint as a crucial part of this plan, given its nationwide wireless network in the U.S.


(Wall Street Journal)  Wynn Resorts in Early Talks to Sell Boston-Area Casino Project to MGM

  • Wynn Resorts has been in talks to sell its partially built Boston-area casino project to rival MGM Resorts International, MGM according to people familiar with the matter, as Massachusetts regulators continue their investigation into the company’s handling of sexual-misconduct allegations against founder Steve Wynn.
  • The talks, which are over the Wynn Boston Harbor property and no other parts of the company’s gambling empire, are at an early stage and may not result in a deal, the people said.
  • Regulatory issues surrounding any potential deal would be complex, since Massachusetts forbids companies from operating more than one casino in the state, and MGM is planning to open one in Springfield soon, they added.
  • Wynn Resorts estimates the Massachusetts project, scheduled to open next year, will cost a total of $2.5 billion to build, making it one of the largest U.S. casino projects ever undertaken outside Las Vegas.
09 Apr 2018

CAM High Yield Weekly Insights

Fund Flows & Issuance:  According to a Wells Fargo report, flows week to date were -$0.2 billion and year to date flows stand at -$24.2 billion.  New issuance for the week was $1.8 billion and year to date HY is at $60.0 billion, which is -28% over the same period last year. 


(Bloomberg)  High Yield Market Highlights

  • Junk bond yields continued to head south as they dropped to a two-month low at close, with the biggest decline in more than seven weeks. Yields fell across ratings for three consecutive sessions.
  • Spreads also tightened across ratings and saw the largest move in more than seven weeks as stocks continued to climb; the VIX dropped to a two-week low
  • Strength and resilience of the market was also reflected in the pricing of two drive-by offerings amid 11 weeks of outflows from retail funds
  • Two drive-by bond offerings were from the energy sector – Resolute Energy and Targa Resources; Targa Resources had orders of more than $3b and priced in the middle of talk
  • Primary market priced four deals for $1.8b, which suggested junk bond investors were not heading to the exit
  • While yields dropped and spreads tightened, junk investors have turned increasingly cautious and selective in credit-picking, a mood reflected in the pricing of American Greetings Corp yesterday
  • AM was the second deal this week after McDermott International to price at a deep discount and offer double-digit yields
  • CCCs continued to beat BBs and single-Bs with positive YTD returns of 0.55%
  • CCCs still beat stocks and investment-grade bonds, with IG’s YTD returns negative 2.68%
  • BBs were the worst with negative YTD returns of 1.41%, followed by single-Bs negative 0.24%
  • The default rate should move lower in 2018 amid a growing economy and improving credit conditions in the commodity sector, Moody’s John Puchalla wrote in note


(Business Wire)  Wireless Carrier Selects Zayo for Significant National Expansion

  • A major wireless carrier has selected Zayo for fiber-to-the-tower (FTT) to new macro towers in 30 markets across 21 states. The deal is an expansion of an agreement announced in September 2016. Inclusive of both contracts, Zayo will connect thousands of macro towers for the customer. The contract is Zayo’s largest mobile infrastructure contract to date.
  • The solution includes deployment of dark fiber infrastructure, in some cases replacing legacy Ethernet. The new infrastructure will support the carrier’s strategy of improving coverage and capacity across its network to accommodate increasing traffic and to prepare for 5G. The deployment will leverage Zayo’s existing fiber network and includes construction of hundreds of route miles of fiber.
  • “This undertaking is the result of a trusted relationship with the customer,” said Dan Caruso, chairman and CEO of Zayo. “As they continue to densify to meet the growing demand for bandwidth, dark fiber provides the optimal long-term solution.”
  • This agreement pertains to macro towers. Under other contracts, Zayo is deploying small cell infrastructure for this customer. In many cases, these are full turnkey implementations, including RF design, site acquisition, permitting and installation of equipment.


(Bloomberg)  AMC Cinemas Tiptoes Into Saudi Arabia as Theater Ban Lifted

  • AMC Entertainment, controlled by China’s Dalian Wanda, was granted the first cinema license in Saudi Arabia and plans to open 100 theaters with the country’s Public Investment Fund.
  • AMC, the world’s largest exhibitor, and the Development & Investment Entertainment Co., a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s PIF, plan to open as many as 40 cinemas within five years and 60 more by 2030, according to a statement Wednesday from the Leawood, Kansas-based company.
  • There are no commercial theaters in Saudi Arabia and plans to open them present challenges for the conservative kingdom, such as whether men and women can sit together and what types of movies will play. The partners are aiming for “50 percent market share of the Saudi Arabian movie theater industry,” the parties said. The first AMC in Saudi Arabia will open in the capital Riyadh on April 18.
  • The announcement coincides with the U.S. visit by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is looking to burnish his image as the leader of a more open Saudi economy.


(Modern Healthcare)  Dialysis industry on alert as Calif. union pushes for reimbursement cap

  • A California fight between dialysis clinics and a major hospital workers’ union has healthcare industry investors and stakeholders jittery as the union gets ready to push a ballot initiative to cap private insurance reimbursements for dialysis.
  • The Service Employees International Union–United Healthcare Workers West, one of the country’s largest hospital workers’ unions, has gathered more than 600,000 voter signatures for a statewide ballot measure to cut off dialysis clinics’ commercial insurance reimbursement at 115% of care costs, which would slash their current rates.
  • The union claims the proposal would pressure clinics to improve care for dialysis patients by reinvesting extra revenue into staffing and other efforts to raise standards in order to bump up the cost of care.
  • But critics of the initiative say the measure could spur reverberating losses for corporate dialysis giants, hospitals and even state and federal coffers.
  • Most of dialysis market in California belongs to Colorado-based DaVita Healthcare Partners and the German company Fresenius Medical Care, who have about 70% of the state market share. The 30% remaining market share belongs to independent or not-for-profit clinics. California has just under 600 dialysis clinics.
  • California has an extra high rate of growth in dialysis patients — about 5% every year — and there are already more than 68,000 dialysis patients in the state.
  • But SEIU members say dialysis clinic regulations are far too lax, and facilities have been plagued by issues like rat and cockroach infestations or staffing shortages that leave technicians with only minutes to clean up stations before another patient receives treatment.
  • “With regards to staffing it’s a free-for-all,” said union member and longtime dialysis technician Emanuel Gonzales, who is helping to lead the union campaign and has worked in several dialysis centers across San Bernardino County and the Inland Empire in California. “They pretty much operate anyway they like. If something happens, they could blame workers.”
12 Jan 2018

High Yield Weekly Insights 01/12/2018

Fund Flows & Issuance:  According to a Wells Fargo report, flows week to date were $1.2 billion and year to date flows stand at $2.2 billion.  New issuance for the week was $4.1 billion.

The high yield market is strong out of the gate in 2018. 


 (Bloomberg)  High-Yield Bond Spread at Lowest Since 2007 After Five-Day Rally

  • S. high-yield bond spreads hit a post-financial crisis low amid investor euphoria stoked by rising equity and commodity markets. Spreads have fallen for five consecutive sessions, the longest winning streak since February 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
  • Bloomberg Barclays High Yield index spread dropped to 320bps, lowest since July 2007, down 23bps since Jan. 1
  • Index compression already exceeds JPMorgan’s projected 20bps of HY spread tightening this year
  • BAML predicts HY spread will go as low as 290bps by yearend
  • Strong equities, low volatility, firm energy prices are driving the junk bond rally, helped by steady economic growth, low corporate default rates


(Bloomberg)  One-Tenth of High-Yield Communications Bonds Are Distressed

  • Led by Frontier, about 9.7% of the market value of high yield communications bonds are distressed, according to analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Stephen Flynn and Philip Brendel.
  • Largest portion belongs to Frontier, with almost $10b in market value of distressed notes, analysts say
  • Other large issuers: Windstream with $2.8b principal, iHeart with ~$10b and Intelsat $6b
  • While Windstream scrapped its dividend last year, Frontier continues to pay cash dividends on common stock, which Flynn and Brendel call “an odd combination” alongside its distressed debt
  • iHeart’s junior creditors will likely be fighting for scraps, as their influence in negotiations is likely minimal; pricing on unsecured debt could be “extremely volatile”


(RTT News)  Sunoco Announces $1.75 Bln Private Offering Of Senior Notes

  • Sunoco LP announced a private offering of senior notes due 2023, senior notes due 2026 and senior notes due 2028 in an aggregate principal amount of $1.75 billion. Sunoco Finance Corp., a wholly owned direct subsidiary of Sunoco, will serve as co-issuer of the notes.
  • Sunoco said it intends to use the net proceeds from the offering, together with the consideration it receives from its previously announced sale of certain company-operated retail fuel outlets to 7-Eleven, Inc., to redeem in full its 5.500 percent senior notes due 2020 at a call premium of 102.750 percent plus accrued and unpaid interest.
  • The company will also redeem each of its 6.250 percent senior notes due 2021 as well as 6.375 percent senior notes due 2023 at a make-whole premium plus accrued and unpaid interest.
  • In addition, Sunoco intends to repay in full and terminate its existing senior secured term loan agreement, repay a portion of the outstanding borrowings under its existing $1.5 billion revolving credit facility, pay all closing costs and taxes in connection with the 7-Eleven Transaction, redeem all of its outstanding Series A Preferred Units, and also fund the repurchase of a portion of its outstanding common units.

(CAM Note)  Sunoco ended up pricing $2.2 billion in notes across 5, 8, and 10 year maturities.


(Reuters)  Drahi hits Altice reset button to court wary investors

  • Altice founder Patrick Drahi is reshaping his telecoms and cable group for the second time in as many months by splitting its U.S. and European operations, hoping to end a drastic downward share-price spiral.
  • Heavily indebted Altice said it would spin off its U.S. arm, which owns the country’s fourth-biggest cable operator, to existing investors, and would prioritize efforts to turn around its European operations including French telecoms operator SFR.
  • Altice USA will pay a parting dividend of $1.5 billion to the European arm, to be named Altice Europe. Divestments of non-core assets, some of which are already under way, should also help to pay down debt, Altice said on Tuesday.
  • “We’re very focused on the operating story, specifically in France and Portugal,” Dexter Goei, Altice Chief Executive, told reporters during a call. “Over the medium and longer term, I‘m certain this question will be asked again and maybe we’ll have a different response.”
  • The two companies will be led by separate management teams with Franco-Israeli billionaire Drahi retaining control of both and garnering a large share of the dividend as well as of a $2 billion share buyback planned by Altice USA.
  • Dennis Okhuijsen, Altice’s current chief financial officer, will become CEO of Altice Europe and Dexter Goei will continue to serve as chief executive of Altice USA.
  • Altice has grown rapidly through acquisitions in the United States and Europe, helped by cheap debt that has risen to around $60 billion — more than five times its annual core operating profit.
  • In the United States, Drahi spent $28 billion in 2015 to buy cable companies Suddenlink and Cablevision, and even flirted with a $185 billion bid for cable giant Charter.
21 Dec 2017

High Yield Weekly Insight 12/21/2017

(CNN) White House, GOP celebrate passing sweeping tax bill

  • Republican lawmakers joined President Donald Trump on Wednesday afternoon to celebrate their largest legislative achievement of 2017, in a public ceremony spotlighting the most sweeping overhaul of the US tax system in more than 30 years.
  • The bill passed the House Wednesday 224-201, with no Democrats backing it. The measure now heads to the Trump’s desk for his signature.
  • In a vote in the early Wednesday morning hours, the Senate approved the final version of the first overhaul of the US tax code in more than 30 years. The bill passed along party lines, 51-48, with the final result announced by Vice President Mike Pence, who presided over the vote.
  • The plan drops the corporate tax rate down from 35% to 21%, repeals the corporate alternative minimum tax, nearly doubles the standard deduction for individuals and restructures the way pass-through businesses are taxed.
  • The bill keeps seven personal income tax brackets and lowers that tax rates for most brackets.


(Reuters) Humana, private-equity firms buy Kindred Healthcare for $4 billion

  • U.S. health insurer Humana and two private-equity firms agreed to buy home health-care and long-term care operator Kindred Healthcare on Tuesday for about $4 billion, the latest expansion by a U.S. health insurer into patient care.
  • Humana, TPG Capital, and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe will pay $9 per share in cash for the home health-care provider and hospice operator, a 4.7 percent premium over the stock’s Friday close, and split the company into two parts.
  • Humana, the fourth-largest U.S. health insurer, will pay $800 million for a 40 percent stake in Kindred at Home, which will contain Kindred’s 40,000 caregivers that serve about 130,000 patients daily. It will not have a stake in the second Kindred unit, which will contain long-term acute care and rehabilitation assets.
  • Humana’s insurance business is focused on individuals in the U.S. government’s Medicare program for the elderly and disabled, and the acquisition builds on Humana’s focus on using health providers in members’ homes to improve health outcomes and save costs.
  • The deal comes after deals by competitors Aetna and UnitedHealth that will expand the reach of those insurers into healthcare services in locations and sites that charge less than hospitals.


(Bloomberg) Mattel Pays Up to Refinance Debt at Tough Time for Toymakers

  • Mattel Inc. sold $1 billion of bonds due 2025 with a yield of 6.75 percent as investors demanded the struggling toymaker pay a premium to refinance short-term debt.
  • While the pricing was at the tighter end of initial talk of up to 7 percent, it’s more than 2 percentage points above the average for similarly rated bonds, according to Bloomberg Barclays indexes. The maker of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars was cut to junk by two major bond-grading firms recently.
  • Mattel, in its first bond offering this year, sold the debt at a difficult time for the toy industry. The company lowered its full-year sales and guidance in October, prompting Chief Executive Officer Margo Georgiadis to increase Mattel’s cost-cutting plan by threefold and suspend its dividend. Fourth-quarter sales could also be hurt by underperforming brands and retailers exerting tighter control over their inventories, Mattel said in a filing.
  • The proceeds of the bonds, which can’t be bought back for three years, will refinance debt due next year and repay Mattel’s commercial paper borrowings, the filing said. The company also plans to replace its revolving credit facility with a new $1.6 billion credit line secured by assets including its inventory.
  • The lower forecasts led Moody’s Investors Service, S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings to downgrade the toymaker. Moody’s, assigning the second-highest junk rating with a stable outlook, cited the bankruptcy of retailer Toys “R” Us Inc. for Mattel’s drop in sales during the several “critical weeks” at the end of the third quarter ahead of the holiday shopping season. S&P cut the company one level to BB-, three steps below investment grade. Fitch rates it one step higher at BB.


(PR Newswire) Crown Holdings Announces Acquisition of Signode Industrial Group Holdings

  • Crown Holdings, a global leader in consumer packaging, announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Signode Industrial Group Holdings, a leading global provider of transit packaging systems and solutions, from The Carlyle Group, in a cash transaction valued at $3.91 billion subject to customary closing adjustments. The acquisition, which is subject to review by various competition authorities, is expected to close during the first quarter of 2018 and to significantly increase free cash flow. Debt financing has been fully committed in support of the transaction.
  • With pro forma sales and adjusted EBITDA of $2.3 billion and $384 million, respectively, for the twelve months ended November 30, 2017, Signode is the world’s leading supplier of transit packaging systems and solutions, which consist of strap, stretch and protective packaging consumables and the application equipment and tooling for each. Based in Glenview, Illinois, Signode’s global footprint includes operations in 40 countries across 6 continents, with sales to customers in approximately 60 countries.
  • Commenting on the transaction, Timothy J. Donahue, President and Chief Executive Officer of Crown, stated, “With this acquisition, we add a portfolio of premier transit and protective packaging franchises to our existing metal packaging business, thereby broadening and diversifying our customer base and significantly increasing our cash flow. Signode’s products supply critical in-transit protection to high value, high volume goods across a number of end-markets, including metals, food and beverage, corrugated, construction and agriculture, among others. Combined with its highly engineered equipment and service business, Signode offers full solutions to meet customers’ transit packaging needs. In addition to its equipment and protective packaging businesses, geographic and product mix provide a strong platform for value-creating growth.”