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Return of the junk bond as Numericable set for record


On the surface, French cable company Numericable's debt issue on Wednesday may not seem like the most exciting of deals. Yet it is set to beat previous records and mark the changing cycles of the markets post-credit crisis.

Numericable initially planned to sell around 6 billion euros ($8.3 billion) worth of debt, but has increased the amount to $7.9 billion euros on the strength of close to $100 billion worth of appetite from investors.

"This marks a real coming of age and maturity of the European high-yield and non-investment grade sector," Ray Doody, head of acquisition leveraged finance, EMEA, at JPMorgan told CNBC.

The success of the deal makes $50 billion plus leveraged acquisitions for good companies feasible, according to Doody.

"There is a shift in terms of the deal size that we as market makers and intermediaries think is possible," he said.

The offering was also attractive to investors because of the mixture of different kinds of bonds.

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

The easier availability of credit should help fund more mergers and acquisitions across Europe.

Even a few months ago, such a deal might have seemed untenable. Its success is, on one level, a measure of how desperate investors are to find investments which might pay out more.

Read More France's Numericable to issue shares to fund SFR deal

"The chase for yield remains the mantra for now, particularly in Europe, and rising expectations of ECB QE is perhaps adding support to this view," Jim Reid, strategist at Deutsche Bank, wrote in a research note.

It is also reflective of investor confidence returning to the telecoms sector in general and Numericable in particular.

How to Play the Junk Bond Market: Expert

The deal will fund the company's 17 billion euro takeover, together with its parent company Altice, of Vivendi's stake in French cell phone operator SFR.

A record $34.4 billion worth of high-yield euro-denominated bond volume has now been sold in 2014 so far, up 38 percent from the same time in 2013, according to Dealogic. Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and JPMorgan are the investment banks making the most from the trend, with nearly a quarter of the market so far this year between them.

Read More Red flag waves over junk bond market

Money has flowed into assets once seen as too risky to take a bet on, as the market is awash with cheap loans from the world's biggest central banks. Bailed-out euro zone countries like Ireland, Portugal and even Greece have been able to sell their debt on the open market again.

It now costs the Spanish government less to repay its five-year debt than it does the U.S., even though the U.S.'s recovery is generally viewed as much more stable than Spain's.

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