Citibank beat out NationsBank to lead a new $140 million buyout loan for Carlyle Group, a merchant banking firm.

The loan will help finance Carlyle's purchase of Magnavox Electronic Systems Co. from Philips Electronics NV, the Dutch consumer electronics company. Philips agreed to sell its Magnavox defense electronics unit to Carlyle in late July.

The purchase price was not disclosed. Terms of the buyout loan also could not be learned.

Taking Turns

Citibank and NationsBank have been taking turns leading Carlyle's bank loans.

Just recently, NationsBank won a bidding contest with Citibank to lead a $175 million credit, which will refinance debt stemming from Carlyie's acquisition of Vought Aircraft.

Citibank led the original Vought buyout loan and will be co-agent on the refinancing. Bank of New York will also be a co-agent.

Defense-Related Acquisitions

NationsBank, meanwhile, has been invited to be co-agent on the new buyout loan for Carlyle's Magnavox deal.

Carlyle, based in Washington, D.C.. specializes in defense-related acquisitions.

Frank Carlucci, secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, is chairman of the firm. Other top Carlyle officials include James Baker, former secretary of state and White House chief of staff in the Bush administration, and former Bush Budget Director Richard Darman.

Joining the Ranks

The pairing of NationsBank and Citibank is becoming increasingly common in the loan market, and it goes beyond deals for Carlyle.

In another recent transaction, for example, the two banks were managing agents for a $180 million loan backing the buyout of Aim Management Group.

Since its merger with C&S/Sovran Corp., NationsBank has made a strong push to become a top underwriter of large corporate loans, joining the ranks of the New York money-center banks.

Though the banks compete for mandates, a Citibank official said his bank is trying to forge a cooperative arrangement with NationsBank.

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