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Netflix seeks to raise $500 million

Debt offering could help pay for original series

Netflix is sticking to its promise to refinance and raise cash for deals and new investment, taking advantage of current low interest rates to potentially fund more original programming.

The company, whose star has been rising since it wowed the market with sexy financials last week, announced plans Tuesday to raise $500 million in senior notes due in 2021 at 5.375%. Company said it expected the offering to close Feb. 1.

Announcement came hours after the company disclosed it would seek a $400 million bond offering.

Transaction will put $225 million toward redeeming its outstanding 8.5% notes due 2017, giving Netflix a breather on interest rates.

The bond offering will use the balance to fund general corporate purposes, including “capital expenditures, investments, working capital and potential acquisitions and strategic transactions,” Netflix said in an SEC filing.

CEO Reed Hastings indicated last week during his fourth-quarter earnings call that he was looking for “increased flexibility to fund future originals.”

Netflix shares have had a massive run up after subscribers rose in the fourth quarter of 2012 and a return to profitability surprised the Street. The stock was up about $1.78 in midday trade at $165.

Kevin Spacey’s “House of Cards” debuts this Friday, “Arrested Development” in May.

While Netflix may aggressively pursue more original series, some analysts remain skeptical about the price which the company pays for existing content.

“Netflix’s newest capital raise reflects the continuing cost escalation of its streaming agreements,” said analysts in a report from Wedbush Equity Research issued Tuesday. The experts also noted that the new debt further constrained the company’s cashflow and led to Wedbush’s skeptical 12-month price target of $55.

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