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Best Borrowers 2008: GlaxoSmithKline

The stars were aligned for GlaxoSmithKline’s $9 billion blockbuster issue, which smashed into the market and took several records with it.

If someone were to suggest going to the bond markets for the biggest ever corporate deal outside of the telecoms industry in the midst of the worst financial crisis for decades that is growing almost daily, that person would have been assigned close supervision. If that same person were to propose marketing such a deal with just a single investor conference call, he might well have been forcibly restrained. But UK pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline did just that with its $9 billion equivalent yankee issue on May 6. Launched to fund a share buyback programme that was ramped up to £12 billion at the credit bull market’s 11th hour in July 2007, the four-tranche deal racked up a $17.8 billion order book in less than four hours. It was split into: 6.375% $2.75 billion due 2038, 5.65% $2.75 billion due 2018, 4.85% $2.5 billion due 2013 and a $1 billion FRN yielding three-month Libor plus 62.5

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