Fried Frank and Simpson Thacher advise on Virgin Media’s £1.5b bond

Tim Peterson

Capital markets partners Tim Peterson and Rob McBride are leading the Fried Frank team acting for longstanding client Virgin on the deal, part of an ongoing debt restructuring programme.

Simpson Thacher is acting for lead arrangers JPMorgan Cazenove and Goldman Sachs on the bond issue, with corporate partner Nicholas Shaw understood to be leading the team.

The bonds, whose total value was greater than had been widely predicted, were issued in two tranches – a $1bn US denominated portion issued by Virgin Media Inc and a £875m slice from Virgin Media Finance.

The UK denominated tranche is the largest-ever sterling high yield bond issue.

Virgin is expected to use the bond issue to refinance some of its estimated £4bn debt.

The senior secured notes are due in 2018, with the dollar notes carrying a 6.5 per cent interest and the sterling tranche paying at 7 per cent.

The deal is the latest in a string of transactions that could mark the return of the debt market, following Manchester United’s £500m bond issue and National Express’s £350m offering.

Allen & Overy and Latham & Watkins acted on Man Utd deal (11 January 2010), while Ashurst and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised on the National Express bonds (14 January 2010).