By Richard Annerquaye Abbey
Spirits maker Bacardi Ltd. tapped the corporate bond market Tuesday to refinance a bridge loan used to boost its stake in a cognac brand once 50% owned by rapper Jay-Z.
Bacardi plans to use the proceeds from the transaction to repay a $675 million bridge loan to increase its stake in D’Ussé LLC, a premium cognac brand, according to S&P Global Ratings. The company will also use proceeds from the transaction to refinance euro-denominated bonds, the ratings firm said.
The Bermuda-based company priced $1.5 billion of bonds in three parts, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The longest portion of the offering, a 20-year security, will yield 1.9 percentage point over Treasuries after earlier discussions for about 2.25 percentage points, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the details are private.
A representative for Bacardi didn’t respond to a request for comment.
In February, a Bacardi affiliate and Jay-Z resolved a dispute over the D’Ussé joint venture after months of contentious arbitration and litigation in multiple courts.
The resolution came after Jay-Z’s demand for a buyout over concerns that Bacardi subsidiary Empire Investments Inc. — which oversees the cognac’s day-to-day operations — was mismanaging the brand by failing to prepare for a surge in consumer demand tied to its rapid growth.
The settlement called for the Bacardi affiliate to buy out a majority of Jay-Z’s 50% stake in D’Ussé, resulting in the company owning at least 75.01% of the business.
Bloomberg last week reported that Bacardi is nearing a deal to acquire Ilegal Mezcal after private equity firm L Catterton held talks to buy the company, Bloomberg reported in late May. Bacardi owns about 20% of Ilegal Mezcal.
Representatives for D’Ussé and Ilegal Mezcal didn’t respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for L Catterton declined to comment.
–With assistance from Allan Lopez and Andrew Kostic.
(Updates to add pricing details throughout.)
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