Starwood Lands $1.5B Senior Credit Facility

Is it becoming a little easier to get financing? No word on the lending market's level of friendliness from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., which just closed a new $1.5 billion senior credit facility, courtesy of a 24-bank syndicate.

April 23, 2010
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons user jlastras

Is it becoming a little easier to get financing? No word on the lending market’s level of friendliness from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., which just closed a new $1.5 billion senior credit facility, courtesy of a 24-bank syndicate.

Starwood will use the new credit facility, which has a maturity date of November 15, 2013, to refinance its existing $1.875 billion revolving credit agreement, executed in 2006 and scheduled to mature in February 2011. Deutsche Bank AG New York Branch, and JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., served as administrative agent and syndication agent, respectively, on the transaction, while Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. and Banc of America Securities L.L.C., acted as lead arrangers and book running managers.

The financing, consisting of revolving loans and the issuance of letters of credit, is a multi-currency package providing funds in Euros, Pounds Sterling, Australian dollars, Yen, Canadian dollars, Mexican pesos and other permitted Libor-based currencies.

While the credit market appears to be thawing, commercial real estate companies don’t secure billion- or even half-billion-dollar credit facilities every day. Starwood’s ability to get its hands on such a large lump of financing may be due in part to its premier assets; the company’s portfolio of owned, leased, managed and franchised hotels encompassed approximately 1,000 upscale properties in 100 countries as of the close of 2009, and its stock has recently been trading in the low- to mid-$50 range. Or, it may be a result of the company’s strong relationships with the banks involved in the transaction. Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase Bank and Bank of America were involved in the facilitation of the 2006 credit facility, too.

Perhaps in the current lending climate it is mostly about history. After Philadelphia-based retail REIT Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust obtained a $650 million secured credit facility in March, company president and COO Edward A. Glickman, told CPE: “We’ve had a long relationship with the banks involved in the transaction; that’s the fundamental piece of it.”