Computer Associates has traded in the 95 range down from 98 1/2 earlier this year with $5-10 million changing hands last week following reports of a convertible notes offering. Rumors suggest the name may have dipped lower as it passed from dealers to institutions, according to traders. Market players have split views on the strength of the name. One dealer suggested that the convertible issue is seen as an "act of desperation" in the eyes of investors, who are concerned with the company's overall health. Another trader defended the name believing it was a sound investment. Last Thursday, CA announced it would issue $600 million in convertible senior notes due 2007.
There has been uneasiness surrounding CA since mid-February, when the company demonstrated inability to access the CP markets and was hit with ratings downgrades and investigations into its accounts. At that time bids for the company's bank debt had begun to drop from the 98 1/2 level into the mid 90's, although traders said no trades were completed. Lisa Savino, v.p. of investor relations, speculated that the drop in the name might be attributed to the rumor of a transaction and the absence of information. Regarding the convertible issue she said, "We think it was a good transaction and that we addressed equity markets concerns about dilution with the call spread repurchase option."