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Ropes & Gray Advises on $8 Billion of Bank and Bond Financings Since Start of 2017

Practices: Finance

International law firm Ropes & Gray has advised long-time client Liberty Global on financings totaling approximately $8 billion since the start of 2017. Liberty Global tapped both the leveraged loan and high yield bond markets in Europe and the US across a number of their subsidiary groups, taking advantage of favourable market conditions. The Ropes & Gray teams working on the financings were led by finance partners Jane Rogers and Robert Haak, together with counsel Alex Robb, all based in London.

Ropes & Gray advised Dutch telecommunications company VodafoneZiggo, the joint venture between Liberty Global and Vodafone, in its recent euro- and dollar-denominated term loan refinancings. The euro-denominated term loan was upsized from €500 million at launch on 17 January 2017 to €2.25 billion, representing the largest upsizing of a European term loan ever seen*. The dollar-denominated term loan was similarly upsized, from $1.05 billion to $2.525 billion. The term loan refinancing follows on from a financing involving the issuance by Ziggo in October 2016 of $2 billion and €775 million of its senior secured notes due 2027 in connection with the completion of the combination of Vodafone Netherlands' assets with those of Ziggo at the end of 2016, on which Ropes & Gray also advised.

Ropes & Gray also advised UK telecommunications company Virgin Media on its recent term loan and high yield bond financings. Virgin Media launched its £500 million term loan on 25 January 2017, which was subsequently upsized to £865 million. This term loan refinancing follows on from a US$3.4 billion term loan, upsized from US$750 million when it launched in December 2016. Virgin Media also turned to the high yield bond market in January, issuing £675 million of senior secured notes due 2027 at par, with a coupon of 5.0%.

European telecommunications company UPC was also advised by Ropes & Gray as it tapped the US dollar market in January with a term loan of $2.15 billion that allocated on 2 February 2017.

Jane Rogers, finance partner at Ropes & Gray in London, said, “The quantum and pricing achieved on these financings reflect the deep liquidity in the leveraged loan and high yield bond markets, particularly for names such as VodafoneZiggo, UPC and Virgin Media. Liberty Global has taken advantage of favourable market conditions to opportunistically refinance existing loans and bonds across their subsidiary groups.”

*According to LCD News.

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