Oracle Sells $15 Billion of Debt, Drawing Two Credit Rating Cuts

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Oracle Corp. sold $15 billion of bonds Monday in the second-largest offering this year, drawing downgrades from Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service.

While the proceeds will repay debt through next year, it’s a “deviation” from Fitch’s expectation that Oracle will reduce debt upon maturity, according to a statement Monday. Fitch cut the grade one notch to BBB+, three steps above speculative. Moody’s downgraded two levels to Baa2, one notch lower than Fitch’s rating.

The company’s bonds were among the worst performers in the high-grade market Monday. The most actively traded, the 3.6% bonds due 2050, widened 31 basis points to about 144 basis points over Treasuries, according to Trace. The new bonds due 2051 priced at a spread of 155 basis points, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Oracle Sells $15 Billion of Debt, Drawing Two Credit Rating Cuts

The downgrades “may raise new-issue concessions high enough to attract considerable demand,” Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Robert Schiffman and Suborna Panja said in a report before the deal launched. Oracle’s shares were little changed.

Second Biggest

At $15 billion, Oracle’s bond sale is the second-largest this year behind Verizon Communications Inc., which borrowed $25 billion earlier this month to help finance spectrum purchases. Apple Inc. issued $14 billion of bonds last month as it looks to return more cash to shareholders.

Oracle is targeting all of its $1.5 billion of notes due 2021, the $4.25 billion of 1.9% bonds due 2021 and another $2.5 billion due 2022, according to a filing. The proceeds may also be used for stock repurchases, dividends, repaying debt and future acquisitions, among other general corporate purposes.

The software company sold bonds in six parts, and the longest, a 40-year security, will yield 170 basis points above Treasuries, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the details are private. Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. managed the sale, according to the filing.

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