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OSN secures US$400 million syndicated financing facility

OSN to further strengthen premium content and tech platforms to enhance viewer experience

OSN, the region’s leading Pay-TV network, has secured a US$400 million facility from a syndicate of 11 international and regional banks that was nearly two times oversubscribed.

The proceeds will be used primarily to strengthen OSN’s exclusive and premium content, particularly sport, as well as to develop innovative technology platforms that enhance viewer experience.

Leveraging the competitive market pricing, the unsecured five-year facility includes a Term Loan of US$255 million and Revolving Credit Facility of US$145 million. The Term Loan is repayable on a quarterly basis in equal instalments.

Barclays Bank PLC, BNP Paribas and Mashreq Bank PSC, – all three with long-standing relationships with OSN – have served as lead arrangers and Book Runners, with National Bank of Kuwait, Citibank UAE, Commercial Bank of Dubai, First Gulf Bank PJSC, HSBC Bank Middle East Ltd., Société Générale, JP Morgan Chase Bank and Credit Suisse AG completing the syndicate.

David Butorac, Chief Executive Officer of OSN, said: “The highly successful closing of the new syndicated financing facility is an acknowledgement of the financial strength and the banking community’s confidence in OSN’s business model. The level of oversubscription and participation of banks from the Gulf, Europe and North America, further confirm the trust in OSN’s strategy and performance. The new financing facility takes advantage of the favourable market conditions to strengthen our financial fundamentals and drive our expansion plans.”

He added: “In the past months, OSN has introduced several industry-first initiatives and signed international partnerships for exclusive and first-access to premium content. The new facility will enable us to invest in even more innovative and exclusive Sports, Entertainment and Factual content, develop new advanced technology platforms, gain stronger market share and create long-term value for our shareholders, partners and customers.”

Rezwan Mirza, Managing Director, Head of Corporate Banking Middle East Barclays said: “We are pleased to support one of the leading international Pay-TV networks across the region. The successful oversubscription of this facility and breadth of the participating financial institutions is testament to the international reach of OSN’s business model and strategic lens of its top management. We are delighted to continue our partnership with OSN as they progress along their growth trajectory.”

John Iossifidis, Group Head of Corporate and Investment Banking Group at Mashreq, said: “There was significant demand for the transaction in the bank market. This reinforces OSN’s market position and acceptance of its robust financial profile by regional and international banks. Mashreq is delighted to lead the way on all of OSN’s capital raising transactions till date. We wish to express our gratitude to the shareholders, KIPCO and Mawarid, and the management of OSN who helped us add another milestone in our long standing relationship with the group.”

Securing the US$400 million facility follows OSN’s first syndicated 5-year financing facility for US$200 million closed in 2013 with Mashreqbank PSC as the sole Mandated Lead Arranger, Book Runner and Underwriter for the syndication, which also generated overwhelming response from regional and international banks.

The new unsecured facility brings very competitive terms for OSN further improving the funding cost of OSN and increasing access to liquidity. It also assures the benefit of free cash flow without any constraints from the lending banks.

OSN plans to increase its investment in exclusive content, especially sport that is extremely popular among the MENA audiences, and in new technologies such as over-the-top (OTT) platforms. It will also enable the company to consider potential acquisitions that complement its existing offering.

The definitive home of world-class content including the latest blockbuster Hollywood movies, brand-new series brought at the same time as in the US and UK and a wide range of sports including WWE Wrestling, cricket, football and OSN has a growing footprint across the MENA region. OSN Play, the region’s first of its kind digital streaming platform, and GO Online TV by OSN, both highlight OSN’s technological edge.