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Updated: Netflix Prices $1.5 Billion in Debt to Fund Content, Other Initiatives

[UPDATED, 5 p.m. PT] Netflix is raising $1.5 billion in additional long-term debt — up from its original $1 billion target, announced earlier Monday — the proceeds from which the company said it plans to use for content acquisitions and other general purposes, including potential acquisitions.

The company late Monday announced the pricing of an offering of $700 million aggregate principal amount of 5.50% senior notes due 2022 and $800 million aggregate principal amount of 5.875% senior notes due 2025.

Netflix said the sale of the debt is expected to close Feb. 5, 2015, subject to usual closing conditions.

In reporting earnings last month, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells told investors the company was planning to raise at least a billion dollars of debt, given the company’s step-up in content investment as well as the “current favorable interest-rate environment.”

“Over the next few years we expect to continue financing our original content expansion with long-term debt,” Hastings and Wells wrote in the letter. “As long as the maturities are spread out, and the interest cost is built into our content budgets, we think long-term debt is the best way for Netflix to finance the production of content.”

Earlier, after Netflix’s announcement plans to issue $1 billion in debt, both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s downgraded their credit ratings on the company, meaning the company’s addition of debt carries more risk. (Moody’s cut its rating from “Ba3” to “B1,” and S&P dropped Netflix from “BB-minus” to “B-plus.”) “The downgrade and negative outlook reflects our expectation that Netflix will incur significant discretionary cash-flow deficits over the next several years and that debt leverage will be high during that time,” S&P said Monday.

Hastings and Wells, in their letter to shareholders, said in the first quarter of 2015 that Netflix will increase the amount of cash used for original projects launching in the period. Upcoming series include the third season of “House of Cards,” slated to launch Feb. 27. All told, the company this year expects to launch 320 hours of new and returning original series, as well as films, documentaries and stand-up comedy specials, which is three times the amount of original programming Netflix released in 2014, they said.

As of the end of 2014, Netflix reported $900 million in long-term debt on its balance sheet. The company issued $400 million in 10-year notes last year, after raising $500 million in 2013.

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