June 15, 2016 / 8:33 PM / 3 years ago

LPC: Uber takes trip to the leveraged loan market

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ride-hailing company Uber has hired a group of banks to help it raise debt on the leveraged loan market, according to sources familiar with the proposed transaction.

An illustration picture shows the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign in Frankfurt, September 15, 2014. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

While the final size has yet to be determined, the loan could reach at least $1 billion with an even larger size possible, but the deal is still in early stages and could change in size and structure, said a source.

Startups like Uber rarely visit the leveraged loan market as investors generally prefer to lend to companies with long track records. Uber was created in 2009, according to the company.                                                        

The bank group currently consists of four banks, including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, according to sources. The other two banks include Morgan Stanley and Barclays, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The San Francisco-based company has yet to visit the loan market to raise term loan debt, but it did arrange a $1.9 billion five-year revolving credit facility in June 2015 that was increased to $2.27 billion in March 2016, according to Thomson Reuters LPC data.

Morgan Stanley served as the administrative agent on the revolving credit facility and a bookrunner along with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.

The revolving credit facility is priced at 100 basis points over Libor. The loan matures in June 2020.

The company has previously favored the equity market over the debt market, as it did when it announced June 1 that it had sealed a deal to raise $3.5 billion from the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, putting the value of the company at $62.5 billion, according to Reuters. Uber’s balance sheet stood at more than $11 billion at that time, according to the company.

Uber operates an app allowing users to hail different types of transportation directly to where they are.

Barclays, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley declined comment. Bank of American Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan and Uber did not immediately return requests for comment.

Reporting by Jonathan Schwarzberg; Editing By Michelle Sierra and Jon Methven

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