CAA raised $75 million in debt earlier this week in an effort to ensure it has plenty of liquidity on hand in an uncertain business climate.
The move prompted CAA to earn a credit rating downgrade from S&P Global Ratings and Moody’s Investor Service as it raised CAA’s debt ratio to above the eight times earnings level. The ratings agencies cited the widespread coronavirus-related shutdowns that have up-ended the entertainment business and temporarily shut off income streams for many of CAA’s starry clients.
“The live entertainment industry sector has been one of the sectors most significantly affected by the shock given its sensitivity to consumer demand and sentiment. More specifically, the weaknesses in CAA’s credit profile have left it vulnerable to shifts in market sentiment in these unprecedented operating conditions and CAA remains vulnerable to the outbreak continuing to spread,” Moody’s wrote on Monday.
According to the agencies, CAA has $1.15 billion in debt coming due in 2026 and a $125 million revolving credit facility due in 2024.
Moody’s downgrade to B3, from B2 level with an outlook of stable, “reflects the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the ability to hold live events and complete media production as scheduled, as well as the overall economy which will lead to lower discretionary consumer spending. While many events may be rescheduled later in the year depending on the duration of the outbreak, others may be held without fans in attendance or cancelled.”
Moody’s noted that CAA’s music division represents a “modest” portion of the agency’s total revenue.
S&P Global dropped CAA to B from B plus, also with an outlook of stable.
“The majority of CAA’s represented talent are being directly affected by these disruptions because they are not receiving compensation. This, in turn, prevents CAA from collecting its agent commissions, which leads us to anticipate that its credit metrics will be materially weaker than we previously expected in fiscal year 2020,” S&P Global wrote. “The outlook also reflects our view that volume of productions and live events, including sports and music, will gradually return to pre-pandemic levels toward the end of fiscal year 2020 into 2021, which will further improve the company’s credit measures over the next 12 months.”
S&P said it would consider an upgrade for CAA if the agency returns to a five times earnings leverage ratio.