AT&T Corp.'s blockbuster $30 billion syndicated loan was about 40% oversubscribed by Wednesday-beating by two days the ambitious goal of AT&T executives to raise the biggest loan ever in one week.
After launching a surprise $58 billion cash and stock bid last Thursday for MediaOne Group Inc., AT&T needed to raise the money in a hurry. MediaOne executives will decide by next Thursday whether to accept the AT&T bid or a competitive bid from ComCast Corp., or to opt for a 21-day extension.
"We were overwhelmed by response," said Edward M. Dwyer, AT&T's treasurer. "I think it reflects both the strong relationships we have at these banks and the strong sense that this is a strategic acquisition."
Chase Manhattan Corp. and Goldman, Sachs & Co., book managers on the bank facility, kicked off the deal last Friday with each committing to take $5 billion of the loan
Chase has long led loan issues for the telecommunications giant, and Goldman is advising the company on its bid for MediaOne, the nation's third-largest cable service provider.
By Wednesday, 16 banks had committed $2 billion each to the deal, many of them pushing up against their legal lending limits, according to Mr. Dwyer.
"We basically took the banks that were in our existing backup facilities and those that we had strong relationships with," Mr. Dwyer said. "We had a number of reverse inquiries outside of our group that were willing to go up to the $2 billion commitment."
The 16 co-arrangers are a diverse group of banks hailing from New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, and other money-centers, according to a market source.
"The market's response to the transaction is a great tribute to the stature AT&T holds in the world's capital markets," a senior Chase banker said.
AT&T will need to reduce the $42 billion in commitments to $30 billion, Mr. Dwyer said.
He estimated that Chase and Goldman would probably wind up with a $3 billion commitment each, and the 16 co-arrangers with $1.5 billion each.
The $30 billion facility is intended to back up the $20.3 billion cash portion of the bid for MediaOne and a breakup fee of about $1.5 billion, Mr. Dwyer said.
Another $7 billion to $8 billion would go toward AT&T's operating needs and would replace the company's existing $7 billion backup facility.
Mr. Dwyer said he hopes to reduce the $30 billion of debt to the $7 billion-to-$8 billion range by the end of 2000.