Cable Operators

Debt Sales Could Fuel Future Acquisitions

9/26/2009 2:00 AM Eastern

The debt train kept on a-rollin' last week, with a handful of media giants issuing notes that at least one analyst believes could be making room for acquisitions.

Last Friday Viacom announced that it would issue $550 million in new notes, to be used to pay down its existing credit facility.

Earlier in the week DirecTV completed a $2 billion note offering, in part, to buy back old debt. Dish Network said it would issue another $400 million in debt, in addition to its previously announce $1 billion issuance. And Cablevision Systems closed a $900 million offering, proceeds of which would be used to retire old notes.

These debt offerings are just the latest in what has been a flood of deals since August — from Mediacom ($650 million), Viacom again ($850 million) and Discovery Communications ($500 million).

“It would appear that numerous companies in the media sector are stretching out maturities and fixing the balance sheet to take advantage of very low long-term interest rates, while paying down (to free up) their short-term liquidity options should interesting acquisition opportunities arise,” said Miller Tabak analyst David Joyce in a research note.

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