Blackstone launches $5.5 bln F&R bridge loan: Reuters

Blackstone Group has launched a US$5.5 billion bridge loan to support the pending bond issuance for its acquisition of a majority stake in Thomson Reuters’ Financial and Risk division (F&R), which is expected to complete later this year.

The US$5.5 billion bridge loan is separate from a US$8 billion-equivalent term loan B portion of Blackstone’s US$13.5 billion loan and bond financing, which is also being shown to large institutional investors, Thomson Reuters LPC reported on Monday.

The financing package supports Blackstone’s US$20 billion acquisition of a 55 percent stake in Thomson Reuters’ F&R unit, which includes LPC and IFR and is the largest buyout financing since the financial crisis.

The bridge loan includes a US$3 billion, 7.5 year senior secured loan, which is split between US$2 billion and US$1 billion-equivalent euros, and an eight-year, US$2.5 billion unsecured loan, which is split between US$1.8 billion and US$700 million-equivalent.

The structure mirrors the expected sizes of the bond tranches.

The senior secured tranche pays a margin of 400bp and the unsecured tranche has a margin of 625bp. A 50bp commitment fee is included for tickets of at least US$150 million on the secured tranche and 25bp is payable for all other ticket sizes.

The unsecured tranche has a 75bp commitment fee for tickets of at least US$50 million and 50bp for all other commitments.

A call is scheduled for Wednesday with commitments due on July 9.

JP Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup are lead arrangers. JP Morgan is also the administrative agent.

By Max Bower

(Editing by Tessa Walsh)