Is Netflix Pushing Its Luck With Another $1.5 Billion Debt Offering?

Print Email

Streaming video giant Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) announced Monday morning that the company intends to offer $1.5 billion worth of senior notes to qualified U.S. institutional buyers and also to foreign buyers. Details were not disclosed and the company said they will be determined by negotiations between Netflix and “the initial purchasers.”

Last October, Netflix sold $1.6 billion last October, the company’s largest-ever debt offering. The bonds are rated Ba3 by Moody’s and B+ by S&P, both junk-level ratings. As of Friday’s close, these bonds had a yield of 4.9% on a coupon rate of 4.375% and last traded at $96.30.

This latest addition to the company’s $6.5 billion in long-term debt will be used for general corporate purposes that may include content acquisition, production and development, capital spending, investments, working capital, and potential acquisitions and strategic transactions, according to Netflix’s announcement.

Netflix has said it plans to spend $8 billion this year on 80 original movies and 80 original foreign-language productions, along with a multitude of new episodes of existing and new English-language programming and one-off specials. The company plans to spend another $2 billion on marketing. In its letter to investors last year, the company said: “Our future largely lies in exclusive original content that drives both excitement around Netflix and enormous viewing satisfaction for our global membership and its wide variety of tastes.”

The expenses are all up-front: cash flow from operations totaled a negative $1.8 billion last year and cash flow from financing totaled $3.1 billion, virtually all of which came from borrowing. Still, with a debt-to-market cap ratio of around 4.6, there seems little chance that the company will be overleveraged, even with the announced new borrowing and the likelihood of a second bond issue later this year. The company has for the past several years issued new debt twice a year.

When the company announced first-quarter results last week, it noted in its presentation that it anticipates continuing to raise capital in the high-yield market and touted its own position: “High-yield has rarely seen an equity cushion so thick.”

Investors seem to agree. Shares traded up about 0.8% Monday morning, at $330.15 in a 52-week range of $143.40 to $338.82. The stock’s 12-month consensus price target is $286.62.

I'm interested in the Newsletter