AB InBev announces much-awaited jumbo bond to finance SABMiller deal

The logo of Anheuser-Busch InBev outside the brewer's headquarters in Leuven on Nov 10, 2015.
The logo of Anheuser-Busch InBev outside the brewer's headquarters in Leuven on Nov 10, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Brewing giant AB InBev on Wednesday announced a much-awaited bond to help finance its purchase of rival SABMiller, an up to eight-part deal that could be one of the largest bonds ever.

The offering is expected to be a solid success in the investment-grade bond market, which has got 2016 off to an uneven start due to broader overall volatility.

The maker of Budweiser and Stella Artois, rated A2 by Moody's and A- by Standard & Poor's, could target US$25 billion or more with the bond, which was expected to price later Wednesday.

The company has backed its more than US$100 billion bid for SABMiller with a record US$75 billion syndicated loan, TRLPC reported in November, and the bond will take out some of that debt.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays and Deutsche Bank are the global coordinators on the bond offering. Mitsubishi UFJ, Santander and Societe Generale are joint bookrunners.

US companies have rushed to the bond markets to finance acquisitions and share buybacks, selling a record US$1.269 trillion of new bonds in 2015. "(The AB InBev deal) will help establish a clearing level for large deals, and also help pave the way for more M&A deals to come," one syndicate banker told IFR on Tuesday.

The current record bond is Verizon's US$49 billion deal in 2013.

AB InBev appeared to be offering new issue concessions of 30-40 basis points on the bond, which has maturities between three and 30 years. That indicates an interest payment of around 5.15 per cent on the longest dated 30-year issue.