Big Bond Issue for a Buyout

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Last week's new U.S. bond issues totaled just under $22 billion. That moderate sum would have been much smaller but for one issuer making up nearly half the total.

United Technologies (NYS: UTX) floated $9.8 billion in six tranches of fixed rate and floating rate notes with maturities ranging from one to 30 years. And United Tech even told investors what it's going to do with the money. The new funds will go toward financing the planned $16.5 billion Goodrich acquisition. The company will also be selling some business units and issuing convertible paper to raise cash for the acquisition.

BlackRock (NYS: BLK) sold $1.5 billion split evenly between three- and 10-year paper. Barclays is selling its stake in BlackRock, and BlackRock intends to buy $1 billion worth of the offering. The rest of the new money will go toward "general corporate purposes, which may include repayments of our outstanding indebtedness."


Caterpillar's (NYS: CAT) Financial Services Corp. raised $1.5 billion selling three-, five-, and 10-year notes. The money will be used "for financing and leasing transactions, customer and dealer loans and other corporate purposes."

Covidien (NYS: COV) broke into last week's billion-dollar borrowers club with $1.25 billion of three- and 10-year notes. The money will be used to pay off some 5.45% debt that matures in October and for general corporate purposes. The new issues have coupon rates of 1.35% and 3.2%, so Covidien will save a few bucks in interest compared to the old paper.

McDonald's (NYS: MCD) didn't quite make the billion-dollar mark, but it did tie IBM's record of 1.875% for the lowest coupon on a seven-year corporate bond. The three-year piece of Big Mac's $900 million deal had a coupon rate of 0.75%. The new paper was issued under a 2009 shelf registration, and there was no update to "general corporate purposes" for the use of proceeds.

I own shares and have a long-standing outperform CAPScall on McDonald's, but BlackRock is the most interesting based on last week's bond issues. The company has enough confidence that its shares are undervalued to buy part of the Barclays sale using borrowed funds. In addition, BlackRock improves its cash flow by using cheap, borrowed money to take down stock with a 3.5% yield. Combine that with a reasonable valuation, and it's enough for me to add an outperform CAPScall on BlackRock to my scorecard.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Russ Krull owns shares of McDonald's, but no other company mentioned. You can follow his stock picks on CAPS.Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Covidien, BlackRock, and McDonald's. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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