* Six banks lead $45 bln loan for BHP Billiton
* Five banks underwriting loan
* Bond refinancing expected after anti-trust clearance
By Alasdair Reilly & Tessa Walsh
Six banks are leading the financing, which has been unequally underwritten by Banco Santander, Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas, JP Morgan and Royal Bank of Scotland, a banker close to the deal said, adding that TD Securities is acting as mandated lead arranger and bookrunner.
BHP Billiton has locked up its lenders with a financing exclusivity agreement, two of the bankers said.
BHP said earlier on Wednesday it has a “new multi-currency term and revolving facility agreement entered into for the purpose, among other things, of meeting the funding requirements of the transaction.” [ID:nSGE67H031]
Further details of the jumbo loan financing are expected to be included in a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, which will outline the terms of BHP’s offer, one banker said.
The deal, which will carry a pricing premium due to its size, will be refinanced with bond issues after the deal receives regulatory clearance, the banker said.
Bankers do not expect significant anti-trust issues and said there is a decent chance that the acquisition could close before the end of the year.
Although a deal of this size could challenge loan market capacity, bankers expect it to be well received. BHP is viewed as a good credit with ancillary business and has a track record of treating its banks well, they said.