NationsBank Corp. on Wednesday was nearing the finish line in the syndication of a $3.25 billion loan for LDDS Communications Inc.
The loan will allow LDDS, based in Jackson, Miss, to purchase the Wiltel long distance unit of Williams Cos. for $2.5 billion in cash.
LDDS, the nation's fourth-largest longdistance communica-- tions company, will use the remainder of the loan to refinance existing debt.
The credit is one of the largest acquisition loans this year for a noninvestment-grade borrower, and represents one of NationsBank's largest syndications to date.
NationsBank originally committed up to $1.5 billion of the credit to LDDS, a long-term client, in a deal that underscores the Charlotte, N.C,-based banking company's emergence as a major player in the syndication market.
Sources said the loan was oversubscribed as NationsBank raised commitments for $5.8 billion. Each of the five original agent banks the Bank of Nova Scotia, Credit Lyonnais, First Chicago Corp., First Union Corp., and Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan had committed $500 million.
The group has since expanded by 19 co-agents, including Wachovia Corp., Fuji Bank, Chemical Bank, and other major New York
One bank executive suggested that LDDS' name recognition outside of the telecommunications field has helped NationsBank syndicate the loan.
"In order for the transaction to be successfully syndicated, it had to work not only for banks familiar with media or telecommunications," he said, "but also with players outside of the telecommumcations field."
Unlike in other deals for communications firms, no bank was expected to hold more than $200million of the debt following syndication.
With this loan, the volume of NationsBank's syndications in the United States would reach approximately $52 billion for the third quarter of 1994.
At the same time last year, NationsBank had $21 billion in syndicated loans worldwide.
The bank was still ranked fourth in overall volume for syndicated loans, according to Loan Pricing Corp.
The LDDS credit is broken down intwo parts, a $1.25 billion, two-year revolver, which will serve as a bridge loan to a future public offering of debt or equity, and a six-year revolver of approximately $2 billion.
Both parts ate priced at 150 basis pointS over the London interbank offered rate.