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NEW YORK, June 20 (Reuters) - Abbott Laboratories is in market with $14.5 billion in loans, making it the largest loan package year to date in the U.S., sources told Thomson Reuters LPC.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley are leading the deal.
The loans will back the company's separation into two publicly traded companies and will refinance existing debt, sources said.
Spokespersons from Barclays, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley declined to comment. BAML did not respond by press time. The company did not comment by press time.
The loans will include revolving credits and bridge loans. The facilities are in the process of being syndicated.
In October 2011, Abbott announced in an SEC filing its plan to separate into two publicly traded companies, one in diversified medical products and the other in research-based pharmaceuticals.
To accomplish the separation, Abbott said it plans to create a new company called AbbVie for its research-based pharmaceuticals business, which will include Abbott's Proprietary Pharmaceutical Products segment.
Abbott's spin-off of Proprietary Pharmaceuticals is the largest separation transaction ever in the healthcare sector. The transaction is expected to take the form of a tax-free distribution to Abbott shareholders of the stock of the newly created pharmaceutical company.
The separation is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.
According to an SEC filing, at March 31, Abbott's long-term debt rating was AA/A1. As of that date, the company had two revolving credits totaling $6.7 billion, of which a $3 billion facility expires in October 2012 and a $3.7 billion facility expires in 2013. The revolvers support the company's commercial paper program.
Abbott is a global healthcare company that develops, markets and manufactures pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics.