Primary pauses to take stock

As with the rest of the financial markets the focus over the last week was on looking inward. Banks were scrambling to assess the implications of dramatic bank collapses and brinkmanship. Introspection does little to ease deals through the market, and there were no launches or closes.

Syndication of the US$2.65bn of senior loans for Fresenius through Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan have not yet closed, and looks set to be increased again, in an effort to capitalise on support for the deal and minimise exposure to bond market volatility. The bond issue had been tipped to be about US$1.3bn.

Final pricing on the deal is now expected this week with an increase in the loan size expected. The senior loan is structured as US$1bn of term loan A and a US$650m revolver, both paying 287.5bp over Libor, and US$1bn of term loan B paying 350bp, with a 3.35% floor.

A private equity consortium of Blackstone, Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners has withdrawn its bid for UK media company Informa, which earlier this month rejected its takeover offer.

A source close to the financing said a debt deal remained on the table right up to the point the bid was withdrawn, and that approach floundered on the equity side.

A group of 11 banks had agreed to support a £1.8bn debt facility split between £1.4bn senior and £400m of mezzanine. The group was made up of Bank of America, Bank of Ireland, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Calyon, GE, HSBC, ING, JPM, Lloyds TSB and RBS.

The consortium first bid for Informa at 506 pence per share, but subsequently reduced the offer to 450 pence a share, before finally walking away altogether.

Travel distribution provider Amadeus will request an amendment to allow it to buy back debt at depressed secondary market prices.

The request is reported to include a provision to allow sponsors BC Partners and Cinven creditor voting rights.

The sponsors have a history of taking an aggressive approach to the deal. In 2007 Credit Suisse and RBS arranged a record breaking €1.2bn dividend recap as an add on to a €4.3bn LBO debt package put in place only a year earlier through Barclays, CSFB, Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan and RBS.

As well as increasing debt add on, the recap deal cut the pricing across a large part of the earlier deal.

As well as the sponsors, airlines including Air France, Iberia and Lufthansa hold equity stakes in Amadeus.