Novartis (NYSE:NVS; SWX:NOVN) caused some stir last week when it unveiled plans for a $5 billion bond issue that the company said will be used "for general corporate purposes outside of Switzerland."
With Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) needing to raise debt to acquire Wyeth (NYSE:WYE), and Roche (SWX:ROG) likely to need to do likewise in its bid for Genentech (NYSE:DNA), the move by Novartis got the rumor mill turning. However, the sum being raised suggests that any acquisition would be more modest than those being pursued elsewhere.
Moreover, the company had a modest $6.1 billion in cash and marketable securities on its balance sheet at year end 2008, a year in which Novartis reporting using $11.5 billion in cash in a series of acquisitions, including $10.4 billion to buy a 25% stake in Alcon (NYSE:ACL), plus the purchase of the pulmonary business of Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ:
NKTR), and to take out Speedel Holdings and Protez Pharmaceuticals.
To "enhance the financial flexibility of Novartis," the pharma plans to raise the debt in two tranches: $2 billion in five-year bonds with a 4.125% coupon that will mature Feb. 10, 2014; and $3 billion in 10-year notes with a 5.125% coupon that will mature Feb. 10, 2019.
JP Morgan, Banc of America Securities, Citi and Goldman Sachs are the joint bookrunning managers, while Barclays Capital, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and UBS are the co-managers.
Danish antibody company Symphogen was able to pull together a €33 million ($44 million) series E round in the space of a few months by turning to its existing investor base - once again showing the