Pacific Bell issued $550 million of 41-year debentures yesterday, but a $400 million deal expected from New York Telephone Co. never surfaced.
"Interest rates look great now, and we needed to refinance to take advantage of lower rates," said Pat Strong, director of investor relations at Pacific Telesis Group, the holding company for Pacific Bell.
A buy-side source said she thought Pacific Bell's deal was priced "a little bit tight," but qualified her assessment by saying that she was unsure how to evaluate the 20 years of call protection the deal offered.
Pacific Bell offered $550 million of 6.625% debentures due 2034. Noncallable for 20 years, the debentures were priced at 96.523 to yield 6.88% or 72 basis points more than the old 30-year Treasury bond. Moody's Investors Service rates the offering Aa3, while Standard & Poor's Corp. rates it AA-minus. Lehman Brothers was lead manager.
The company chose the 41-year maturity because it wanted to spread out its maturity schedule, Strong said.
In February, Pacific Bell completed a $400 million offering that matures in 2033. That debt can be redeemed beginning on Feb. 1, 2003.
In July, the company sold a 50-year deal totaling $300 million. That debt can be called on July 15, 2013.
Asked why Pacific Bell decided to bring another long-term deal yesterday, Strong replied, "It's really where we thought we were going to get the most value - by going long."
Meanwhile, a two-part offering totaling $400 million expected from New York Telephone never arrived yesterday. The competitive deal was thought to consist of $150 million of a 10-year bullet and $250 million of a 30-year piece that would be noncallable for 20 years.
"Market conditions were not suitable," said John Bonomo, a New York Telephone spokesman. Bonomo declined to comment further.
One syndicate official, however, pointed out that many issuers these days believe the trend toward lower interest rates will continue, and "they are going to wait to take advantage of it."
In other news yesterday, QVC Network Inc. announced that it has presented Paramount Communications Inc. with commitment letters for $4 billion of financing to acquire Paramount.
According to a QVC release, documents delivered yesterday morning included commitment letters relating to two earlier announced $500 million equity investments in QVC by Comcast Corp. and Liberty Media Inc., as well as bank loan commitments tallying $3 billion. Six banks each provided $500 million each.
In secondary trading, spreads on corporate bonds ended a quiet day unchanged, while high-yield prices ended slightly higher.
AMR Corp. issued $300 million of floating rate notes due 1995. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.821 to yield 4.375% initially. They float quarterly at 100 basis points more than the three-month London interbank offered rate. They pay quarterly. J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. was lead manager.
Arkansas Power & Light Co. sold $155 million of 6% first mortgage bonds due 2003. Noncallable for five years, the bonds were priced at 98.75 to yield 6.169% or 85 basis points more than comparable Treasuries. A group led by Kidder, Peabody & Co. won competitive bidding to underwrite the offering.
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. came to market with $100 million of floating rate debentures due 1994 at par. The noncallable debentures were priced to yield 3.25% initially. They float daily at 275 basis points under the prime rate. They pay quarterly. Lehman Brothers was sole manager of the offering.
The Empire District Electric Co. issued $45 million of 7% first mortgage bonds due 2023. Noncallable for 10 years, the bonds were priced at 99.523 to yield 7.038% or 87.5 basis points more than comparable Treasuries. Salomon Brothers Inc. was lead manager.
Moody's put NYNEX Corp. and its supported affiliates' debt ratings under review for possible down-grades following NYNEX's annoucement that it will invest $1.2 billion in Viacom Inc. The investment is expected to be in the form of convertible preferred stock.