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Citi beats rivals to the Punch

Issuer: Punch GroupDeal: asset-backed securitizationAmount: £1.5 billionDate: June 2000 Bookrunner: Citi/SSSBLead managers: Goldman Sachs and RBS Financial Markets

Mark Watson

When Citi/SSSB snatched Punch's £1.5 billion bridge refinancing mandate away from Morgan Stanley Dean Witter the securitization market jumped.

Mark Watson, head of syndicate at Citibank, has no doubt about the impact it made. "It was a monumental transaction for us and for the market," he says. "It was a tremendous piece of business for us and one of the most exciting and interesting deals I have ever done."

Watson's enthusiasm for the deal stems from the fact that Citibank took the business from right under Morgan Stanley's nose. The saga started with Punch Group's takeover of Allied Domecq's pub estate in 1999. Morgan Stanley backed the original deal, providing Punch with a £1.5 billion bridge debt. At this point it was expected, as usual, that Morgan Stanley would go on to organize the refinancing. Citibank had other ideas.

Though it was not in with Punch at the very start of the Allied Domecq deal, Citibank became involved in the latter stages.

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