Abbott Laboratories' ($ABT) plans to spin off its pharma division are rolling along--in a record-setting way. The soon-to-be-independent AbbVie raised $14.7 billion in a bond issue yesterday, busting previous records for dollar-denominated debt sales and pushing the entire bond market to a one-day record.
The harbingers were positive for AbbVie going into the sale. As Dow Jones reported, orders for the new bonds hit $37 billion by late Monday morning. Demand may have reached as high as $47 billion, Reuters says. Analysts weren't too surprised by the response from investors; one told Reuters that the sale was a rare opportunity to pick up a "triple 'B' big pharma name."
The offering was initially targeted to garner more than $10 billion, Dow Jones reports, but beat that number handily. AbbVie's future CFO Bill Chase recently said he was expecting to raise almost $16 billion in total debt in the near future, but not all of that would necessarily come via the bond sale.
Just whose record did AbbVie break? Two of its fellow pharma companies, in fact. Roche ($RHHBY) and Pfizer ($PFE) each sold $13.5 billions' worth in 2009. But where AbbVie's sale finances a divorce, both of those sales were related to big mergers: Roche's buyout of Genentech and Pfizer's deal for Wyeth.