Big Game

Right on cue, with the tenth anniversary of Lehman’s collapse only now in our rear view mirrors, a mega-leveraged cross-border buyout “reminiscent” of 2007 hit the credit markets.

At $17 billion, Blackstone’s purchase of a 55% share of Refinitiv, Thomson Reuters’ Risk and Markets business, represented one of the largest bank and bond deals since credit dinosaurs walked the earth more than a decade ago.

The “bank” portion of the deal’s $13.5 billion financing was split between a $6.5 billion US term loan B priced at L+375 bps (flexed down from L+400) and a $2.75 billion Euro tranche priced at E+400 bps (down from E+425). Four separate Euro and US bond offerings weighed in with yields between 4.5% and 8.875%.

Most of the media focused on the transaction’s prodigious size and toppy leverage (7.2x total debt-to-ebitda). But as Thomson Reuters LPC outlines in an excellent article, Refinitiv is a ways from being equivalent to the biggest pre-crisis buyouts.