Sports Direct launches £700 million loan refinancing
Mike Ashley’s British sporting goods retailer Sports Direct International has launched syndication of a £700 million plus loan refinancing, a senior loan banker said on Wednesday.
The deal was originally put in place in May 2014 by a group of 13 banks with Barclays as facility agent and totalled £738m. It was increased to £758m in November 2014 through an accordion feature, and again to £788m in 2016. It paid a margin of between 115bp and 200bp over Libor.
In 2016, the company decided not to renew a £250m shareholder loan from Mike Ashley/Mash Holdings after it was criticised for its use of that loan. The company used the cheaper shareholder loan to avoid paying utilisation fees on the revolving credit, which would have been incurred if more than one third of the revolver was drawn.
Sports Direct made considerable cost savings by using the shareholder loan, which paid around half the interest margin on the revolver and did not have any arrangement or commitment fees.
The arrangement was unusual for a public company, but Sports Direct benefited from savings of over £1m.