Herbalife Wraps Up Repricing Sale as Buyers Pile on Risky Deals
(Bloomberg) -- Health supplement maker Herbalife Nutrition Ltd. is among borrowers looking to cut margins on existing loans as investors continue to pour money into risky assets.
At least 20 loans are due next week, with Herbalife marketing a $733 million repricing deal while Lummus Technology has commitments due for its $1.047 billion sale. Meanwhile, acquisition-backing offerings in the market include Gainwell Technologies LLC and Adtalem Global Education Inc.
With supply in the $2.8 trillion market for junk bonds and leveraged loans not meeting demand from investors, money managers are calling up companies and pressing them to borrow instead of waiting for bankers to bring new deals to them.
“Public deals are challenging for private equity firms,” said John Cokinos, co-head of leveraged finance at RBC Capital Markets. “They have capital they want to get out the door but it’s hard for them to get their hands on things that are reasonably priced right now.”
Funds that invest in leveraged loans raked in more cash this week, taking this year’s tally to about $4.8 billion, according to Refinitiv Lipper. Another week of inflows would make five consecutive reporting periods of adding money, the longest streak since October 2018. The data is scheduled for release on Thursday.
Cheap borrowing costs may attract more high-yield companies after issuers raised more than $7 billion this week. U.S. junk bond yields hit a new all-time low of 4.09% and funds that buy junk debt saw their first weekly influx of cash in 2021 as investors snapped up issues in the riskiest CCC tier.
The market for sub-investment grade debt is so hot that even a highly unusual deal is on deck for next week. Spanish Broadcasting System Inc. is marketing a $310 million secured bond to repay 12.5% notes that are still active but were supposed to mature in 2017. The largest owner of the bonds, Pacific Investment Management Co., had allowed the radio station company to forgo paying back debt as long as it kept paying interest indefinitely.
Northern Oil & Gas Inc. is offering a $500 million seven-year note to help fund an acquisition and more energy companies are expected to tap the market as oil prices rally. Investors may also see more offerings from first-timers in the high-yield market. There have been 14 debut deals so far this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Blue-chip companies may raise between $25 billion and $30 billion in new debt in the next five trading days, a drop from this week’s $45.3 billion volume, according to an informal poll of primary dealers.
Bond investors are shoveling money at technology companies, allowing them to borrow at rates that might be below zero after inflation. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. raised $5 billion in the biggest dollar bond sale in Asia in eight months. The Chinese e-commerce giant received more than $38 billion in orders for the four-part deal at the peak.
Read more in the Credit Brief: Getting Paid to Borrow; Pressing for More Debt
Corporate earnings continue next week with industrial heavyweights like Cisco Systems Inc., Coca-Cola Co and Walt Disney Co. expected to become potential borrowers after reporting. Fourth-quarter earnings are reflecting continued strength in categories benefiting from the pandemic such as food at home and cleaning products and stalling in restaurants, JPMorgan Chase & Co. credit analysts led by Eric Beinstein wrote in a note on Friday.
Foreign buying of U.S. corporate bonds, especially in the back-end of the curve, will be seasonally weak as Lunar New Year holidays kick off in Asia starting next week, Bank of America Corp. credit strategists led by Hans Mikkelsen wrote this week.
Large business development companies -- public vehicles that make up the most visible corner of private credit -- will also host earnings calls with the likes of Ares Capital Corp. and Golub Capital BDC Inc. giving a peek into the outlook for the now almost $900 billion asset class.
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