09.21.2011
By Terry Flanagan

Nasdaq Refinances Debt

The exchange operator will look to restructure its finances as its debt load increases quicker than anticipated.

An increasing leverage ratio has led the trans-Atlantic bourse to seek a refinancing of its existing loans as well as a note buyback.

Nasdaq OMX has announced that it has made a cash tender offer for any and all of the $428 million in principal outstanding on its 2.5 percent convertible senior notes due 2013. It will also enter into a new $1.2 billion senior unsecured, five-year credit facility, which refinances its existing credit facilities, also due 2013. It will fund the notes repurchases through cash from ongoing operations as well as from the availability under the new loans. The company does not expect to incur additional debt as a result of this transaction.

“We are very pleased in this environment to be able to pursue these transactions which reduce our overall borrowing costs, extend the maturity profile of our debt obligations, increase our revolver borrowing capacity and generate positive earnings per share returns,” said Lee Shavel, Nasdaq chief financial officer.

Nasdaq chief executive officer Robert Greifeld had noted last week that the company would look to implement a share buyback as it restructures its finances. “When we get to 2.5 times leverage, it’s time for us to think about what to do with the excess capital,” said Greifeld during a conference in New York. “Based upon the current depressed share price, the share buyback certainly would look compelling to us, the board, and to probably many of you here,” he added.

Under the note tender offer, Nasdaq will pay $1025 for every $1000 of principal notes tendered, plus interest. The offer expires Oct. 18.

The new credit facility consists of a $750 million revolving loan and a $450 million senior unsecured term loan.

The announcement of the refinancing comes about a week after Greifeld questioned the merger between NYSE-Euronext and Deutsche Borse as being bad for competition. Earlier in the year, Nasdaq along with the IntercontinentalExchange had launched its own offer for NYSE before it was derailed by regulatory authorities.

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