UConn's muni-bond sale aligns with Final Four

“With both the men's and women's teams, how much better could it get? The stars are aligned.”

Apr 3, 2014 @ 10:31 am

The University of Connecticut plans to sell $220 million of municipal bonds starting tomorrow as its teams are set to play this weekend in the Final Four of the men's and women's national college basketball tournaments.

Officials decided on the timing of the tax-exempt offering before the tournament began March 18, said John Sullivan, the university's manager of treasury services. The school will resume the deal Monday, the day of the men's national championship game. The school will wrap up the sale Tuesday, when its women's team has a shot at being crowned winner for the second straight year and eighth time since 2000.

“I've got to admit, with the NCAA Tournament, it's good timing for the deal,” Mr. Sullivan said in an interview. “With both the men's and women's teams, how much better could it get? The stars are aligned.”

Some buyers from previous bond sales have sought benefits beyond the tax-exempt interest. Sullivan said he has fielded calls from debt purchasers asking for better seats at basketball games. They didn't get them.

It's the fourth time that the school's men's and women's basketball programs have both reached the Final Four in the same year, a National Collegiate Athletic Association record. The university, founded in 1881 with a main campus in Storrs, Conn., has been a basketball powerhouse in the past 15 years, winning a combined 10 national titles, including both tournaments in 2004.

Money from the bond sale will fund construction at the university as part of a 29-year, $4.6 billion initiative that began in 1995 called the UConn 2000 Infrastructure Improvement Program. The debt is a general obligation of the school and also has state backing, offering documents show. It shares Connecticut's AA rating from Standard & Poor's, the third highest.

The school usually sees demand from both individual and institutional investors, and yields are often lower than Connecticut general obligations, Sullivan said. The university will offer the debt to individual investors tomorrow and Monday, and insurance companies and mutual funds will be able to buy the debt on Tuesday, he said.

(Bloomberg News)

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