The London offices of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and HSBC Investment Bank PLC will syndicate a three-part, $6 billion loan to finance Pearson PLC's planned buyout of Viacom Inc.'s Simon & Schuster education publishing business.
The deal by London-based Pearson, announced late Sunday, beat out rival bids by leveraged-buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and a group led by junk-bond king Michael R. Milken. Pearson said it would pay $4.6 billion for the publishing unit.
Goldman and HSBC, a unit of London's HSBC Holdings, will syndicate three parts for Pearson: a $2 billion five-year reducing, revolving term loan; a $1.5 billion, 364-day facility; and a $2.5 billion, five-year reducing term loan.
Pricing and the roles of the banks were unavailable late Tuesday.
If Goldman leads the entire deal, it would represent 50% of the total loans led by the firm in the United States in the first quarter, according to Securities Data Co. Globally, Goldman has been more active. The investment bank syndicated 58 global loans, worth $47.6 billion in 1997, ranking it 23d among global lenders.
Similarly, HSBC hardly did any corporate lending business in the United States last year, but syndicated 108 global loans, worth $64.2 billion, ranking the bank 16th.
Goldman advised Pearson on the negotiations and apparently has spun that role into a lucrative gain for its London lending office. Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter & Co. advised Viacom.
Pearson said it would pay down its debt by selling some investments and businesses "that lack critical mass or are likely to be worth more to other" companies. Next year, Pearson forecasts, its debt interest will be covered four times over by operating profit.
The media company also may sell up to 10% of its existing share capital.
The Pearson deal calls for Hicks Muse Tate & Furst Inc., a Dallas buyout firm, to pay $1 billion for Simon & Schuster's professional and reference publishing division.
A spokesman for Hicks Muse said that deal would be financed in three parts: senior debt, high-yield bonds, and stock. Hicks Muse has not yet picked a firm to lead the deal, he said, adding that it was unlikely that a bank loan would be involved.
Greenhill & Co. advised Dallas-based Hicks Muse on its bid.