CBS Looking To Buy Back $1 Billion in Debt

Offering bondholders a premium of 3.5%

CBS said Friday it was looking to buy back over $1 billion in debt coming due in July 2010.

With the debt markets looking better, it has offered bondholders a premium of 3.5% ($1,035 for every $1,000 in principal to get them to tender $1,240,870,000 in 7.7% notes.

CBS is said to be looking to extend the time frame for the debt and still feels it can self-finance its debt. Meaning that rather than making the move because it doesn't think it will be able to meet the debt obligation in July 2010, it is looking to get a better rate on a longer-term debt, something like refinancing a house to lower the payment.

CBS has a number of tranches of debt (including 2012 and further out), but this is the one coming due first.

The tender offer is good through May 15, though CBS has the ability to either extend it or truncate it.

CBS has over $6 billion in public debt in a baker's dozen of tranches stretching out to 2056.

The move comes a day after CBS reported first-quarter 2009 numbers, with CFO Fred Reynolds citing the more accommodating debt markets.