Worldcom, Inc Corporate Bond Issuance Essay

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This case raises many interesting questions concerning the record setting issuance of corporate debt by WorldCom, Inc. (“WorldCom”). Both the surprisingly voluminous structure of the proposed issuance and the foreboding macro-economic climate in which it was slated spark concerns over the risk and cost of the move. One of the first questions that must be addressed is whether WorldCom’s timing was appropriate. Next, the company’s choice of structure for the bond issuance must be analyzed. Finally, the cost of issuing each tranche of debt must be estimated in order to determine how much WorldCom is actually giving up to achieve the $6 billion in funds.

Timing of the Bond
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In addition, WorldCom was not the only company issuing a large supply of bonds at that time. In fact, there were many issues set to hit the market around the same time. The sudden influx of corporate debt into the market would apply pressure on the price of the bonds while granting investors a wide range of opportunity and control. In addition, the economic turmoil in Asia at the time had caused a great deal of uncertainty about the future of the fixed-income market and the overall economy, thus pushing investors towards default-free treasury securities and away from corporate debt.

Structure of the Issuance
WorldCom has the option to extend its bank loan credit facility or to issue this large $6 billion in debt. It plans to use the rolling commercial paper program to pay British Telecommunications for MCI’s share purchases, and then use bond proceeds to pay off the commercial paper program. This signals that WorldCom does not need the money immediately for a single corporate purpose, and does not need the money immediately. Therefore, perhaps it makes sense for WorldCom to issue the bonds in smaller installments rather than flooding the market with $6 billion in debt all at once. The first reason for this is that, if an underwriter must first purchase the bonds before selling to investors, an underwriter may demand greater spread in order to justify taking down an entire $6 billion in debt using the bank’s capital assets. The second
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