Netflix is going back to the debt markets yet again, announcing plans to offer $1 billion in junk bonds to fund operations and potential acquisitions.
The announcement comes the morning after the streamer posted an eye-popping 15.77 million net new streaming subscribers for the first quarter of 2020, a record quarterly boom driven by the coronavirus pandemic.
As of the end of March, Netflix reported $14.17 billion in debt. Most recently, the streamer raised $2.2 billion in debt last fall. The company in its Q1 2020 shareholder letter said “our current plan is to continue to use debt to finance our investment needs.”
Because nearly all of Netflix’s original productions are currently on hold, that will “shift out some cash spending on content to future years,” the company said in the Q1 letter. As a result, Netflix said its cash burn for 2020 will be far less than it previously expected: It’s now projecting negative free cash flow of $1 billion or better for the full year, versus its previous expectation of -$2.5 billion. The company’s free cash flow for 2019 was negative $3.3 billion, which it believes will be the peak year of its FCF deficit.
With its current outlook and balance sheet, Netflix said it has more than 12 months of “liquidity and substantial financial flexibility.” The company ended Q1 with $5.2 billion in cash and equivalents and maintains an untapped $750 million line of credit.
According to Netflix’s announcement, the new $1 billion in senior unsecured notes will be in U.S. dollar and euro denominations. Terms of the debt offering will be determined by negotiations between the company and the initial purchasers.
For the first quarter of 2020, Netflix reported interest expense of $184.1 million (3.2% of revenue) compared with $135.5 million (3.0% of revenue) a year prior.