Netflix put a price today on the amount of additional debt it had warned it would have to take on to help pay for its ambitious original programming and global expansion plans: The company says it will raise $800 million in senior unsecured bonds. Interest rates are yet to be determined.
Moody’s Investor Service gave the notes a B1 rating. That’s considered highly speculative — colloquially, junk status — which mean they’re too risky for many colleges, pension funds, and institutions that are restricted to investment-grade bets.
The additional debt will put Netflix above the ratio to cash flow (measured by earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) that Moody’s typically associates with a B1 offering.
But “based on the company’s solid growth trajectory supported by consistent subscriber gains and expectations for positive contributions from international markets in the next couple of years, we anticipate that leverage will decline rapidly (starting in 2017),” Moody’s says.
Netflix CFO David Wells told analysts last week that “we’ve been pretty clear along the year that we would go-to-market sometime this year to add a modest amount of debt to the balance sheet and then do that on a recurring basis as needed to fund our content expansion.”
Netflix shares are flat in early trading.