Goldman Said to Join Alibaba Loan Team as IPO Nears

Source: Reuters

HONG KONG, China — Goldman Sachs has joined Alibaba Group’s $8 billion loan with $500 million in financing as the Chinese e-commerce giant prepares for a massive initial public offering expected to come as early as the fourth quarter of this year.

Goldman has joined as mandated lead arranger and bookrunner on the three-tranche loan, which has a June 7 deadline, Thomson Reuters publication Basis Point reported on Monday, citing an anonymous source.

The Alibaba IPO is expected to rival Facebook Inc’s $16 billion offer last year, and would yield banks tens of millions of dollars in underwriting revenues.

Alibaba has yet to select an underwriting team. A financial industry source with direct knowledge of the matter said the company was likely to favor banks that have extended it loans.

Alibaba, which is expected to list in Hong Kong, has met with several banks over the past few weeks, sources said.

Goldman declined to comment on the loan and officials from Alibaba were not available for immediate comment.

Nine banks were already mandated for the $8 billion loan, with other banks invited to join in as part of the syndication.

The loan will refinance Alibaba’s existing debt, and give the company an extra pile of cash ahead of the IPO. The new facility will free the company from covenants that capped its borrowing at $4 billion.

The financing is split into a $2.5 billion, three-year term loan, a $1.5 billion three-year revolving credit and a $4 billion five-year term loan. The revolver is not syndicated, Basis Point said.

Banks have been invited to join the three and five-year term loan tranches on a pro-rata basis on three levels ranging from $200 million to $500 million.

For commitments of $500 million and the titles of mandated lead arranger and bookrunner, lenders get fees of 150 basis points and 225 basis points on the three and five-year tranches, respectively, the Thomson Reuters publication reported.

By: Prakash Chakravarti; Editors Michael Flaherty and Miral Fahmly