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Convertible makes for $5 billion party

Issuer: Tyco Amount: $3.45 billionBookrunner: Merrill Lynch

f anyone is wondering just how Merrill Lynch managed to outperform its peers in investment banking in the last three months of 2000, then a quick look at the activities of the firm's convertibles department on November 14 might shed some light.

The quarter was a good one for convertibles in general, but on that day Merrill priced 10% of the year's entire supply. Late that day they priced a $1.5 billion deal for Solectron, and a few hours earlier a $125 million issue for Province Healthcare.

But the deal that stands out is the one launched at the start of the day - the $3.45 billion convertible for Tyco. "It's the single-largest equity-linked deal launched in the history of the solar system," beams an unsurprisingly ebullient Phil Jones, head of convertibles at Merrill Lynch.

What's more, it was a new structure that was launched just four days after Merrill got the mandate. Tyco needed to raise $2 billion to pay for its acquisition of Lucent Technologies' power systems business which it had bought for $2.5 billion.

"It's not the usual Merrill LYONS convertible," explains Jones.