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Netflix Ups Size of Latest Debt Offering to $1.4 Billion to Fund Content Deals

Variety logo Variety 4/26/2017 Todd Spangler
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Netflix, hungry to pump more original programming to its 100 million subscribers worldwide, has increased the size of its latest debt offering to 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion).

That’s up from its plan to issue 1 billion euros in debt from non-U.S. lenders, announced Monday. A company rep said it’s targeting international lenders because current European interest rates are attractive and also because “Netflix is a global company and we want to have access to global capital markets.”

The new debt offering, with a term through 2027, will be on top of Netflix’s existing long-term debt, which was $3.37 billion as of the end of March. Netflix most recently issued $1 billion in new debt last fall, as its cash flow isn’t enough to sustain its expected content expenditures over the next few years.

Netflix is issuing the 1.3 billion euro debt as 3.625% senior notes that will mature on May 15, 2027, unless earlier repurchased or redeemed. The company expects to close the sale of the notes on May 2, 2017, subject to usual closing conditions. Netflix will pay interest in cash semi-annually in arrears, beginning on Nov. 15, 2017.

In its Q1 letter to investors last week, Netflix said it would continue to add long-term debt “as needed” to finance original content, including during the second quarter. The company also aimed to assure investors that it isn’t excessively leveraged, citing a debt-to-market-cap ratio of less than 10%.

Moody’s Investors Service assigned a B1 rating on Netflix’s European debt offering, which means the investment is deemed speculative, and maintains an overall B1 corporate family rating for the company. The new Netflix offering exceeds Moody’s usual leverage threshhold for a B1 rating, which specifies a maximum debt-to-EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) ratio of 6-to-1. However, the agency said in a research note Monday, “we expect leverage to fall back again to around 6X by the end 2018 as the company continues to grow its EBITDA at a high rate… With distribution reaching across the entire world, Netflix has the capability to create content at a fixed cost and utilize it across a near-global footprint.”

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