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Sky Bet makes further changes to buyout loan to get investors in – Reuters News

(Reuters) – A covenant-lite leveraged loan financing backing CVC Capital Partners’ acquisition of a controlling stake in Sky Bet has been adjusted for a second time in order to attract investors to the deal, banking sources said on Friday.

A 340 million pound ($521.25 million), seven-year first lien tranche is now offered at 550 basis points (bp) over Libor with a 1 percent Libor floor at 98 original issue discount (OID), from a launch price of 500bp with a one percent floor at 99 OID.

The margin was increased previously to 525bp and other terms improved but investors wanted further concessions to commit to the deal.

Some loan investors expressed concern over the gambling sector and the potential for increased control. It is also a sterling deal, which is not as liquid as euros and covenant lite removes lender protections.

“At 500bp it was too tight. Although it could be a good credit it is not an easy credit given the sector. The fact it had to flex again feels like it was wrong the first time,” a leveraged loan banker said.

A six-year revolving credit facility has been reduced by 15 million pounds to 35 million pounds. It has been taken by the three lead banks Goldman Sachs, Barclays and RBS and pays an interest margin of 425bp.

In addition, 101 soft call protection, which guarantees a payout at 101 if the company refinances, has been extended to 12 months from 6 months.

If the company decides to raise incremental facilities, changes to the MFN differential means they can only pay up to 50bp more for extra debt rather than 100bp, that was initially guided. A sunset provision, which takes away the MFN at a certain point, was removed in prior changes.

Previous changes also raised the barrier for the private equity firm’s ability to take a dividend and increased the time it would take for the interest margin to ratchet down.

Lenders have been asked to recommit to the deal by 3pm UK time and it is due to allocate on Europe’s secondary loan market by Monday.

CVC was not immediately available to comment.

In December, CVC agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Sky Bet from European pay-TV group Sky PLC, valuing the online betting business at 800 million pounds. Sky, which has 20 million customers in Britain, Italy, Germany, Austria and Ireland, will receive 600 million pounds in cash at completion and will retain a stake of around 20 percent in Sky Bet.
Sky Bet, the title sponsor of English soccer’s Football League, generated profit before tax of 50 million pounds in the year to June 30, 2014 on revenues of 182 million pounds. Founded in 2001, the company operates sports betting and gaming sites in the growing online market. ($1 = 0.6523 pounds)