In an effort to pay for its pending $106 billion merger, Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) has completed the pricing of a $46 billion bond offering, the second-biggest corporate debt offering in history. The issuance is expected to close Jan. 25.
Does it matter?
Anheuser-Busch's acquisition of rival brewer SABMiller (NASDAQOTH:SBMRY) hasn't received the necessary regulatory approvals yet, and it will be some time before they materialize, but the maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois, and Shock Top prepared for the eventuality with the corporate debt offering.
At $46 billion, it falls just short of the record set by Verizon (NYSE:VZ) in 2013 when it sold $49 billion worth of bonds. Yet unlike that deal, which carried a 50-basis point premium, Anheuser-Busch's offering didn't need such a large spread to attract demand, though the 15 to 30 basis points added across all seven tranches was still seen as solid.
Anheuser-Busch saw investors put in orders for some $117 billion worth of bonds, which allowed the brewer to increase the size of the offering from its initial $30 billion offer. Analysts thought A-B's high-quality and very liquid offer might even run as high as $60 billion.
Bank of America's Merrill Lynch division, Barclays, and Deutsche Bank were the brewer's global coordinators for the offering, while Mitsubishi UFJ, Santander, and Societe Generale served as its joint bookrunners. The bond has seven different tranches offering fixed rates across three, five, seven, 10, 20, and 30 years. There is also a floating-rate five-year issue.
Part of the proceeds from the bond offering will be used to pay off some of a $75 billion syndicated loan Anheuser-Busch originally took out to pay for the Miller merger, which itself was the largest commercial loan in the history of the global loan markets, beating out the $61 billion loan Verizon took out at the time.