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Ensco PLC Selling 5-, 10-Year Bonds To Help Fund Pride International Merger

By Katy Burne Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Offshore drilling services company Ensco Plc (ESV) is selling five- and 10-year senior unsecured bonds to help fund its merger with Pride International Inc. (PDE). That cash and stock transaction--announced Feb. 7--is expected to create the world's second largest offshore driller, with an enterprise value of $16 billion. Under the deal, Pride shareholders will get newly issued Ensco shares plus $15.60 in cash for each share of Pride common stock. The Ensco bonds are expected to be rated Baa1 by Moody's Investors Service and BBB+ by Standard & Poor's, and proceeds from the sale will fund the cash portion of the merger. The company has not said how big the bond sale will be, but a benchmark deal typically means at least $500 million will be sold. Holders of the notes will be able to sell them back to Ensco at 101% of their face value if the merger is terminated within six months of the issue date, or 102% of par if the merger is not consummated by Feb. 3, 2012 or is terminated within six months. Leading the sale are Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Wells Fargo Securities. -By Katy Burne, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3084; katy.burne@dowjones.com

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