Mon, Apr 21, 2014
A A A
Welcome Guest
Free Trial RSS
Get FREE trial access to our award winning publications
Industry Updates

MF Global’s $300m bond offering stirs controversy with Corzine clause

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Jon S. Corzine
Opalesque Industry Update – MF Global Holdings Ltd., a broker-dealer providing trading and hedging solutions, yesterday announced a $300m underwritten public offering of senior unsecured debt (senior notes) subject to market conditions and other factors.

MF Global added it would use a portion of the net proceeds of the offering to repay part of its outstanding indebtedness under its $1.2bn revolving credit facility and for general corporate purposes.

Nothing unusual about that. But what is stirring controversy in Wall Street is the "Key Man Event" clause in the bonds’ prospectus. Reports indicate that MF Global is promising additional compensation for investors who buy the company’s bonds with an interest-rate bump if its Chairman and CEO Jon Corzine accepts a job in Washington as part of President Barack Obama’s team. The Wall Street Journal termed the clause as “the Corzine premium.”

The premium stipulates a one-percentage-point extra atop the $300m bond offering, or up to $15m, should Corzine decide to leave MF Global and accept a federal position and should his appointment be confirmed by the U.S. Senate before July 1, 2013.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s report, the 64-year-old former governor of New Jersey ran Goldman Sachs Group Inc. from 1994 to 1990 and was a senator from 2001 to 2006. Corzine joined MF Global in 2010 and was responsible for taking risk with the company’s assets with the aim of re-establishing the firm as a mid-sized investment bank. He also changed MF Global’s capital structure to reduce borrowing costs. Under his helm, MF Global’s shares rose 9.5% compared to the Standard & Poor’s 500 Financials Index which fell 4.9%.

A staunch Democrat, he is also one of the biggest contributors to Obama’s 2012 re-election bid.

Unusual clause
Several hedge fund managers and industry insiders seem surprised with the “key man” clause.

However, the Wall Street Journal claims that it is not unusual at all for companies to provide “key man” as an insurance if a senior executive or a key official becomes incapacitated, dies or transfers to another firm. The report explained that many investment firms, as well as private equity companies, provide a clause preventing investment decisions if major portfolio managers leave at once.

But industry players say this provision are rarely enforced because the clause is often binded to another clause that says it can only be used if multiple managers depart at once.

Marketing gimmick
There are also those, according to Reuters, who say the provision was more a reflection of MF Global's savvy financing tactics than an indication that President Barack Obama is considering Corzine for a job.

Kenneth C. Froewiss, a finance professor at New York University's Stern School of Business, told Reuters: "I doubt that it's likely to happen. Probably more a case of investor wariness."
Komfie Manalo


Bg

What do you think?

   Use "anonymous" as my name    |   Alert me via email on new comments   |   
Banner
Today's Exclusives Today's Other Voices More Exclusives
Previous Opalesque Exclusives                                  
More Other Voices
Previous Other Voices                                               
Access Alternative Market Briefing
  • Top Forwarded
  • Top Tracked
  • Top Searched
  1. …And Finally – Flight attendant has passengers rolling in aisle[more]

    From Orange.co.uk: A video of a US flight attendant turning her safety talk into a comedy routine is proving a huge hit online. More than five million people have watched the clip of Marty Cobb which has her passengers rolling with laughter on a Southwest Airlines flight to Salt Lake City.

  2. Opalesque Exclusive: Classic Auto Funds Limited (CAF) launches several car investing funds[more]

    Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York: A new trend in alternative alternatives is emerging - car appreciation funds. Classic Auto Funds Limited (CAF) is the first to market with several funds that make super elite luxury cars into real asset investments. As a result of growing overseas demand couple

  3. Opalesque Exclusive: Hedge fund replicators evolve[more]

    Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York: Hedge fund replicators as a group of products tend to get a bad rap from hedge fund managers who suggest that the best a replicator can offer is dynamic beta capture. A

  4. SEC allows investment funds to use social media[more]

    Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has released new guidance letting investment funds and advisors use social media to promote client reviews. The guidance seeks to assist investment managers in developing compliance policies and procedures reasonably

  5. University of Michigan allocates $242m to six managers[more]

    From PIonline.com: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, invested or committed a total of $242 million to one traditional equity manager and five alternative investment funds from its $9 billion endowment. University regents approved the hire of Mittleman Investment Management to run $35 million in act