J.P. Morgan & Co. has lined up $325 million in commitments for a $2.25 billion loan to Meditrust Corp., a source close to the deal said.
The commitments came after an eagerly awaited bank meeting June 24 in New York that drew 60 bankers. Among those committing to the loan is NationsBank Corp., which is taking on $150 million.
Institutional investors gobbled up $175 million, or 70%, of the deal's $250 million one-year term loan that can be extended to 18 months.
Morgan bankers are hopeful those numbers will dramatically increase during the next two weeks as lenders digest a tome of research material compiled by the bank and Meditrust, a source said.
Meditrust, an $8 billion real estate investment trust in Needham Heights, Mass., is using the loan to pay for its buyout of LaQuinta Inns hotel chain and Cobblestone Holdings, a golf course holdings company.
At last week's two-hour bank meeting, Meditrust executives worked to fend off investor concern about how the loan should be viewed-as a health- care, golf course, or lodging loan.
Those concerns partly doomed an attempt by Salomon Smith Barney Inc. to syndicate a Meditrust loan in May. Salomon was fired by Meditrust as lead arranger.
"People wanted to hear what the management of Meditrust would say," said a source at the meeting. "And I think the answer was diversification."
'Morgan also is distributing a four-page report that distinguishes its syndication from Salomon's effort. Market sources say Salomon had been asked to participate in the Morgan-led loan, but declined.
Rumors also circulated around the market two weeks ago that Salomon's co-head of high-yield debt, Richard Ivers, had been fired because of the Meditrust fiasco. A source at Salomon said Mr. Ivers was still on the job.