January 25, 2018 / 1:37 PM / a year ago

LPC-Thirteen banks bag debt mandate for Unilever spreads buy

LONDON, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Thirteen banks have been mandated on a €5.65bn-equivalent debt financing backing US private equity firm KKR’s €6.83bn acquisition of Unilever’s margarine and spreads business, banking sources said.

Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and KKR Capital Markets are leading the debt financing, alongside BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, ING, Lloyds, Mizuho, RBC, Societe Generale and UniCredit, the sources said.

“It’s a long line up of banks but it’s a deal everyone wanted to be on and there is a pretty sizeable revolver,” one of the sources said.

The debt financing will include a €3.9bn-equivalent seven-year covenant lite term loan — which will be mainly denominated in euros and will include some US dollars, sterling and Polish zloty — as well as €1.050bn of senior unsecured notes and a €700m revolving credit facility, the sources said.

The debt financing is expected to launch for syndication in the first half of February, the sources said.

The brands of the margarine and spreads business include Becel, Flora, Country Crock and Blue Band.

Unilever put the business up for sale in April 2017, following a review of its assets prompted by February’s unsolicited US$143bn takeover attempt by Kraft Heinz.

KKR has a long history in the consumer sector and it has investments in India’s Coffee Day Resorts and Chinese white goods maker Qingdao Haier. Last year, KKR bought a majority control of vitamin maker Nature’s Bounty.

Editing by Christopher Mangham

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