ATLANTA - After being postponed for almost a month, officials with the Louisville Arena Authority in Kentucky are readying a roughly $344 million deal.
The bonds will be issued through the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority. The exact date is still up in the air, but officials say that they are looking to price it on Tuesday or Wednesday.
The executive director of the Louisville Arena Authority, Jim Host, said that the reason an exact date has not been chosen boils down to a timing issue.
"We're still looking at the number of investment houses that will be taking advantage of this deal since it would be during the last two weeks of August," Host said, referring to people being off on vacation.
Goldman, Sachs& Co., is the book-runner and Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC is the bond counsel.
The deal's delay stemmed from officials' plans to use Assured Guaranty Corp. as the insurer of the bonds. At the time last month when the deal was supposed to price, Moody's Investors Service put Assured's rating on watch for possible downgrade, reasoning that the existing Aaa rating for the insurer could be affected by the elevated risks with the financial guaranty market. Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor's do not rate the credit. At the time, officials were concerned about how the rating action on the insurer would affect the deal. Assured remains the insurer.
Moody's this week announced that it is rating the deal Baa3. The subordinate bonds do not carry a rating from Moody's and are not expected to be insured.
The senior-lien bonds will be secured by the Louisville Arena Authority's gross revenues. The authority will receive annual revenues from the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro County Government, as well as a portion of the revenues from the arena, including ticket sales. Bondholders will also have a mortgage lien on and security interest in the arena.
The deal is composed of $284 million of Subseries 2008A-1 fixed-rate bonds; $15.5 million of taxable Series 2008B fixed-rate bonds; $29 million of Subseries 2008A-2 bonds; and $14.5 million of taxable subordinate Series 2008C fixed-rate bonds.
Among the steps taken to bring the project to fruition was the creation of the Louisville Arena Authority to own and finance the construction of the arena. Officials also put together a tax increment finance district in which the arena would be located.
Host noted that the creation of the TIF was one of the reasons that helped to enhance this deal.
Host said the tax increment that had been collected in the TIF had grown more than projected during 2007 versus 2006.
"That's why investment houses have been bullish on this deal," Host said.
When finished in 2010, the arena will boast being a 22,000-seat, multi-use facility with the primary tenant being the University of Louisville's men's and women's basketball teams.