General Mills to plan first benchmark bond sale since 2011

, Bloomberg

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General Mills Inc., the maker of Cheerios cereal, is offering its first benchmark bonds in about 14 months, including its first 30-year debt since 2010.

The company may sell three-year fixed- or floating-rate bonds, or a portion of each, and the 30-year securities as soon as today, according to a person familiar with the transaction. Proceeds will be used to repay debt.

General Mills last sold benchmark debt in November 2011, issuing $1 billion of 3.15 percent, 10-year debentures to yield 125 basis points more than similar-maturity Treasuries, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The bonds traded at 105.3 cents on the dollar to yield 2.48 percent on Thursday, according to Trace, the bond-price reporting system of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

It last sold 30-year securities in May 2010, issuing $500 million of 5.4 percent debt, Bloomberg data show. Benchmark sales are typically at least $500 million.

Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan Chase are managing the new offering for the Minneapolis-based company, said the person, who asked not to be identified because terms aren't set. The bonds may be rated Baa1 by Moody's Investors Service and BBB+ by Standard & Poor's.

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