Muni Minute: $1.85B Ascension Health Sale Set to Dominate Week

In the latest installment of Muni Minute – The Bond Buyer's 60-second video series that examines a top municipal market story that will impact the coming week – we take a look at the biggest healthcare deal in recent years: the sale of almost $2 billion of securities by Ascension Health Alliance, a massive offering that will grab attention as well as market share.

VOICE OVER: It could be just what the doctor ordered as America's biggest not-for-profit healthcare system gets set to sell almost $2 billion of Muni bonds. Ascension Healthcare Alliance will issue the largest healthcare deal in recent years with $1.1 billion of fixed rate bonds expected to be priced by Morgan Stanley this week. The offerings are being sold through conduit issuers in Wisconsin, Alabama, and Michigan.

Another $575 million of variable-rates and $250 million of taxables will be sold this week and next. The Saint Louis based system has been on an acquisition spree. It now operates 110 hospitals in 24 states and DC that generated $21 billion of revenues in 2015. Traders say the deal size along with the system's strong AA credit and reputation should appeal to a wide range of buyers.

Ascension Health officials say, "The mix of sales helps hit its targets on diversification, risk management and cost of capital." Either way, it seems to be a prescription for success in a sector struggling with federal healthcare reform. I'm Chip Barnett, this has been your Muni Minute.