The Dallas buyout firm Hicks, Muse & Co. agreed to buy G. Heileman Brewing Co. for $390 million, and, in a surprise, tapped Bankers Trust New York Corp. to finance most of the deal.

Chemical Bank had previously appeared to have a virtual lock on Hicks Muse's bank deals.

Thomas Hicks and John Muse were both unavailable to comment on Monday.

Bankers Trust fully underwrote $200 million of bank loans and will raise another $150 million of subordinated debt in the private or public markets.

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Unlike Chemical, which just recently obtained debt underwriting powers, Bankers Trust has led a number of debt offerings in the public market.

That gave Bankers Trust an edge in the selection, said a source outside of the bank who is knowledgeable about the situation.

It wasn't clear what role, if any, Chemical will play in the buyout financing.

Chemical inherited Hicks Muse as a major client when the bank's parent company merged with Manufacturers Hanover Corp. at the end of 1991.

If anything, Chemical's relationship with the buyout firm appeared to have gotten stronger since the merger.

Last year, for example, Chemical led the bank financing for Hicks Muse's purchase of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co.'s electronic connectors business for approximately $400 million.

Led Occidental Deal Financing

Before its merger with Chemical, Hanover was lead bank in 1991, when Hicks Muse bought Occidental Petroleum Co.'s natural gas liquids business.

Bank financing for the Heileman deal consists of a $175 million term loan and a $25 million revolver, both priced at 275 basis points over the London interbank offered rate.

It's possible that a separate-tranche with a longer maturity could be carved out of the term loan. That tranche would be priced at 325 basis points over Libor.

Financing with Equity Fund

Bankers Trust is expected to begin marketing the bank loans next month.

Equity financing, which will account for 20% to 25% of the purchase price, will come mainly from the buyout firm's equity fund.

Based in LaCrosse, Wis., Heileman is the nation's fifth largest brewer. With annual sales of around $900 million, Heileman holds a 5% share of the beer market in the United States.

|Consistently Profitable'

The company's brands include Colt 45, Schmidt's, Champale, Special Export, Old Style, Rainier, and Kingsbury, a nonalcoholic brew.

Heileman has been "consistently profitable" since its emergence from bankruptcy proceedings in 1991, the buyout firm said.

Heileman's financial woes stemmed from its takeover in the late 1980's by Bond Corporation Holdings Ltd. of Australia.

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