Altice's Numericable SFR unit raises $5.2bn in biggest bond deal

11 April 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


French operator Numericable-SFR, which is controlled by the Altice group, has raised $5.2 billion in a bond deal – said by financial experts to be the largest single high-yield bond ever issued.

The money will be used to pay back existing debt, but the move is seen as a sign of confidence in the business, which was created in a takeover of mobile operator SFR by cable company Numericable in 2014. Altice, the owner, is controlled by businessman Patrick Drahi.

The company began last week planning to raise $2.25 billion, and then increased it to $3 billion and finally $5.2 billion within a few days.

According to market experts, the previous largest such deal was a loan of $4.25 billion to Sprint in September 2013.

Reuters quoted one unnamed investor as saying that the Numericable-SFR was three times oversubscribed, meaning that the company was offered a total of $15 billion.

The deal means Numericable-SFR has no significant debt repayments due for the next six years.