Burlington Coat, Ascend, Pelican Join PE Dividend Parade

The list of PE-backed companies looking to pay large dividends to their shareholders continues to grow.

Burlington Coat Factory, which is backed by Bain Capital, is in the market for a $1 billion loan to pay a dividend to its shareholders. JP Morgan is leading sale of the loan, according to Thomson Reuters Loan Pricing Corp.

Bain acquired Burlington Coat Factory, which sells coats and women’s sportswear, in 2006 for $2.06 billion.

A Bain spokesman says that a portion of the loan will go to refinance debt.

Ascend Learning, which is owned by Providence Equity, is also trying to raise roughly $400 million—including $390 million in loans and $40 million in revolving credit—to pay a dividend, LPC said. Ascend Learning is made up of Assessment Technologies Institute and Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Providence acquired ATI, a nursing testing company, in 2008. It was not clear when Providence bought Jones & Bartlett. A Providence spokesman declined comment.

Lastly, Pelican Products, which is owned by Behrman Capital, is seeking a $435 million loan to pay a dividend, LPC said. Behrman acquired Pelican in 2004.

Torrance, Calif.-based Pelican makes and designs unbreakable, watertight protective cases and advanced professional flashlights.

Dividend refinancings have become more common as PE firms look to return funds to investors. Low interest rates have also made it easier for companies to take out debt.

Last week, I reported on PETCO’s plans to raise about $1.7 billion, which includes a $1.1 billion term loan and $625 million in junior debt, to pay a dividend to sponsors Leonard Green and TPG. Dunkin’ Brands is also raising about $2 billion—via a $1.35 billion loan and $625 million in notes—to fund a dividend to its shareholders, which include Bain Capital, the Carlyle Group and THL Partners. Getty Images, which is owned by Hellman & Friedman, is also in the market for a $1.27 billion loan, partly to fund a special dividend of $495 million to its shareholders, LPC said.