TDF structure emerges

Telediffusion de France’s (TDF) €3.97bn debt package backing its buyout by Texas Pacific Group will come to market before year-end, through bookrunners BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.

The structure will follow a standard ABC senior debt pattern and will also comprise a €300m second-lien and a €220m mezzanine, quashing rumours that the deal would come with a record mezzanine piece.

The volume of drawn debt represents leverage of 7.4x . Even at such a high level, the loan is expected to be very popular, in keeping with many other infrastructure assets that have come to market recently.

TPG has reached agreement with majority shareholder Charterhouse (55%) to acquire the operator of transmission towers for the audiovisual, mobile telecom and broadband media.

Caisse des Depots et Consignation and CDC Enterprises hold stakes of 30% and 14% respectively.

The company was originally bought out in December 2002 for €2.5bn, with the support of €1.34bn in senior debt and €300m of mezzanine debt, arranged by BNP Paribas and CSFB.

Last year, the deal was recapitalised via a heavily oversubscribed €2.23bn deal, this time via BNP Paribas (bookrunner), Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, RBS and SG.

That all-senior deal, which took leverage to a total of 5.2x, was severely scaled back and consisted of a €630m seven-year amortising term loan A at 225bp over Euribor, a €420m eight-year term loan B at 250bp, a €420m nine-year term loan C at 300bp, a €350m 10-year term loan D at 400bp, a €50m seven-year revolver at 225bp and a €350m eight-year amortising capex facility at 232.5bp.