The cash-strapped Baltimore Ravens football team has brought in Deutsche Alex. Brown to draft potential investors.
The U.S. investment banking subsidiary of Germany's Deutsche Bank AG has been asked by team owner Art Modell to find an investor whose minority financial stake would be used to reduce debt and provide working capital for the National Football League franchise, the team said.
Part of the proceeds would be used to pay off a $65 million bridge loan extended by the league and a $185 million financing package led by Fleet Financial Group in 1997.
That debt includes a $90 million loan syndicated to Bank of America Corp. and France's Societe Generale, among other investors. The package includes a $40 million credit line and $50 million term loan priced at the London interbank offered rate plus 125 basis points; both credits mature in 2004.
Fleet also led a $95 million bond issue for the team; the bonds are to be redeemed in 2012. At face value, the bonds pay 8.03%. Though the Ravens have made good on servicing these debts, the team has breached profitability covenants it made in the loan agreement, according to bankers familiar with the matter.
One banker said the loan has technical problems that amount to "a headache" for bankers but that "getting paid at the end of the day" is not in question.
Mr. Modell, in a statement announcing the hiring of Deutsche Alex. Brown, said he has hoped to add a Baltimore-based investor since he moved the franchise from Cleveland in 1996.