Roche Sells $16 Billion of Bonds to Finance Genentech Takeover

Roche Holding AG sold $16 billion of bonds to finance its acquisition of Genentech Inc. in the second- largest corporate bond offering, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, Bloomberg reported.

The sale propelled U.S. corporate debt issuance to a daily record of $32.55 billion in a sign of thawing credit markets. Roche, Switzerland's biggest drugmaker by sales, will finance its $42.1 billion bid for full ownership of Genentech of South San Francisco, California, with a mix of cash, bonds, commercial paper and bank loans, Chief Financial Officer Erich Hunziker said yesterday during a conference call with investors.

Companies are selling debt at an unprecedented pace this year as they take advantage of a rally in credit to raise cash amid a deepening recession. Borrowers have sold $226 billion of bonds in 2009, 45 percent ahead of the 2007 clip, even as the Standard & Poor's 500 Index decreased 12.7 percent this year amid the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

"Investors have a lot of cash to put to work and investment banks aren't carrying a lot of inventory," said Stuart Hosansky, a principal in Malvern, Pennsylvania, at Vanguard Group, which has $488 billion in fixed-income assets under management. "If a single A rated company or above comes to market, there is significant demand."

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