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Cerved preps €1.4B 2-part bond deal backing ION takeover

Cerved Group SpA has outlined plans for a €1.4 billion bond sale, which will fund the buyout of the formerly Milan-listed Italian credit analysis group by ION.

The deal is set to be split across seven-year (non-call one-year) floating-rate notes and seven-year (non-call three-year) fixed-rate bonds and comes just over a week after ION-backed ION Analytics decided not to proceed with a planned $850 million-equivalent dollar and euro bond sale set to refinance debt due to "volatile market conditions."

A global investor call is scheduled for today at 3 p.m. London time via sole global coordinator J.P. Morgan. Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and UniCredit are additional joint bookrunners on the deal.

ION, via its buyout vehicle Castor Bidco, agreed terms in September 2021 to acquire Cerved for an enterprise value of €2.5 billion. Cerved completed an IPO in 2014. The firm provides marketing intelligence and credit management services to financial institutions and corporations, primarily in its domestic market. The company has not been in the bond market since 2013.

Proceeds from the bond deal will also refinance €579 million of existing Cerved debt, translating into leverage of 4.6x based on adjusted revenue and EBITDA of €498 million and €280 million, respectively, for the 12 months ended September 2021. The takeover will be supported by a €1.24 billion equity contribution from ION.

Ratings are yet to be confirmed. Both bond tranches include a 40% equity claw, and the fixed-rate tranche will include a 10% special call at 103 during the non-call period.