"Several" more plaintiffs may join a bondholders' suit against Marriott Corp., a lawyer from the firm representing the bondholders said yesterday.
"Others have indicated an interest in joining," said Lawrence Kill, a partner at Anderson Kill Olick & Oshinsky P.C., adding that until they do, he would not comment specifically on potential plaintiffs.
Kill noted "different degrees of interest" among the bondholders that have indicated a desire to join the suit.
"I'd rather not give a number," he said.
Nine bondholders representing more than $ 100 million of senior securities filed suit Thursday in Federal District Court in Baltimore charging Marriott with securities fraud in connection with its proposed reorganization.
Nick Hill, a Marriott spokesman, had no comment on the suit yesterday. "We're not in a position to comment because we haven't seen the filing yet," he said.
Marriott's plan proposes dividing the company in two and saddling one company with most of the long-term debt.
The suit charges that Marriott failed to disclose its restructuring plans when it issued $400 million of senior notes in April and May.
The action further alleges that Marriott withheld its intentions as investors continued to buy the securities about four weeks prior to its Oct. 5, restructuring announcement.
Plaintiffs listed on the suit are: PPM America Inc.; London Pacific Life & Annuity Co.; Transamerica Life Insurance & Annuity Co.; Capital Holding Corp.; Provident Mutual Life Insurance Co. of Philadelphia; Vanguard Fixed Income Securities Fund Inc.; Wellington Fund Inc.; Anchor Series Trust; and High Yield Plus Fund Inc.
In other news yesterday, Moody's Investors Service said an unweighted average of several junk bond indexes indicates that speculative-grade bonds experienced a minus-1.5% total return in October, marking their poorest performance since the minus-4.3% recorded in October 1990.
Elsewhere, Century Communications Corp. said its board of directors has authorized it to buy back up to all of its 11 7/8% senior subordinated debentures due 2003. The principal amount of those notes now outstanding is $ 204 million.
The New Canaan, Conn.-company's board of directors also authorized it to repurchase up to two million shares of its Class A common stock, of which nearly 18.6 million shares are outstanding.
The repurchase will be done from time to time through both the open market and privately negotiated transactions.
In secondary activity yesterday, the eve of the presidential election found the high-grade market "a smidgen" easier, one trade said.
"There's no activity at all," he said.
The high-yield market finished up 1/4 to 1/2.
Tiphook Finance Corp. issued $150 million of 10.75% senior notes due 2002 at par. The noncallable notes are guaranteed by Tiphook PLC. They were rated Ba1 by Moody's and BBB-minus by Standard & Poor's Corp. Salomon Brothers sole managed the offering.
Wachovia Bank issued $100 million of 3.75% bank notes due Nov. 9, 1993. The notes were priced initially at par and reoffered at various prices through Goldman, Sachs & Co. Moody's rates the offering Aa2, while Standard & Poor's rates it AA-plus.
Litchfield Financial Corp. issued $13.1 million of 10% notes due 2002 at par. Noncallable for three years, the notes are not rated by Moody's or Standard & Poors. J.C. Bradford & Co. lead managed the offering.
Moody's yesterday announced it has established a subsidiary in Spain called Moody's Investors Service Espa$a, S.A. The new company is incorporated under Spanish law and will support the agency's rating activities from Madrid starting in 1993.
"Moody's is pleased to be participating in Spain's rapidly growing capital markets at this important juncture in their development," Moody's president John A. Bohn said in a release. "Ongoing regulatory and legislative developments in Spain point to more open debt securities markets, including legislation designed to foster growth of a domestic asset securitization market."
The new agency, wholly owned by Moody's, will operate as part of the rating agency's global network, which includes subsidiaries in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo, and Sydney, along with New York and San Francisco offices.
Fitch Investors Service upgraded Merrill Lynch & Co.'s senior debt to AA-minus from A-plus. The agency also upgraded the company's preferred stock to A from A-minus About $9.3 billion of debt and $200 million of preferred stock were outstanding as of June 26, 1992. The credit trend is stable, Fitch said.