OSN, the region’s leading Pay-TV network, has secured a $400-million facility from a syndicate of 11 international and regional banks that was nearly two times oversubscribed.
The proceeds will be used primarily to strengthen OSN’s exclusive and premium content, particularly sport, as well as to develop innovative technology platforms that enhance viewer experience.
Leveraging the competitive market pricing, the unsecured five-year facility includes a term loan of $255 million and Revolving Credit Facility of $145 million. The term loan is repayable on a quarterly basis in equal instalments.
Barclays Bank, BNP Paribas and Mashreq Bank – all three with long-standing relationships with OSN - have served as lead arrangers and book runners, with National Bank of Kuwait, Citibank UAE, Commercial Bank of Dubai, First Gulf Bank PJSC, HSBC Bank Middle East Ltd., Société Générale, JP Morgan Chase Bank and Credit Suisse AG completing the syndicate.
David Butorac, chief executive officer of OSN, said: “The highly successful closing of the new syndicated financing facility is an acknowledgement of the financial strength and the banking community’s confidence in OSN’s business model. The level of oversubscription and participation of banks from the Gulf, Europe and North America, further confirm the trust in OSN’s strategy and performance. The new financing facility takes advantage of the favourable market conditions to strengthen our financial fundamentals and drive our expansion plans.”
He added: “In the past months, OSN has introduced several industry-first initiatives and signed international partnerships for exclusive and first-access to premium content. The new facility will enable us to invest in even more innovative and exclusive Sports, Entertainment and Factual content, develop new advanced technology platforms, gain stronger market share and create long-term value for our shareholders, partners and customers.”
The facility follows OSN’s first syndicated five-year financing facility for $200 million closed in 2013 with Mashreqbank as the sole mandated lead arranger, book runner and underwriter for the syndication, which also generated overwhelming response from regional and international banks.
The new unsecured facility brings very competitive terms for OSN further improving the funding cost of OSN and increasing access to liquidity. It also assures the benefit of free cash flow without any constraints from the lending banks, the company said.
OSN plans to increase its investment in exclusive content, especially sport that is extremely popular among the Mena audiences, and in new technologies such as over-the-top (OTT) platforms. It will also enable the company to consider potential acquisitions that complement its existing offering, it said.
The signing was attended by David Butorac; Olivier Sage, CFO, OSN; Yves-Henry Saliou, head of debt origination Brussels Platform, MEA & Russia, CISl; Faisal Al Ayyar, chairman, OSN and vice-chairman (executive), Kipco; Rezwan Mirza, managing director, head of corporate banking Middle East Barclays; and John Lossifidis, group head of corporate and investment banking group at Mashreq Bank.
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