Seagram unit seeks debt aid

Co. files for shelf registration issuing up to $4.5 bil in debt

A Seagram Co. unit filed a shelf registration Friday for issuing up to $4.5 billion in debt.

Joseph Seagram & Sons Inc., the unit of the Montreal-based beverage and entertainment conglomerate that filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, said net proceeds would be used to reduce outstanding debt and for such purposes as acquisitions.

Seagram signed definitive agreements in June to acquire Polygram N.V. in a $10.4 billion deal consisting of $8.4 billion in cash and 47.9 million, or 12%, of Seagram’s common shares.

In August, to help pay for Polygram, Seagram completed the sale of its Tropicana juice business to PepsiCo for $3.3 billion. Seagram also plans to sell off Polygram’s film division.

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