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Merrill Snares Lead Spot Thanks To Ex-Heller Banker

22 Apr 2004

Merrill Lynch Capital has wrested the lead spot on TransFirst Holdings' $265 million credit facility from GE Capital thanks to Jeff Gelm, who had been the company's banker when he worked at now-defunct Heller Financial.

Mark Travis
Merrill Lynch Capital has wrested the lead spot on TransFirst Holdings' $265 million credit facility from GE Capital thanks to Jeff Gelm, who had been the company's banker when he worked at now-defunct Heller Financial. "[Jeff Gelm] brought Merrill Lynch Capital into our transaction, and has assumed the position of the lead agent with this new facility," said Mark Travis, TransFirst's cfo. GE Capital, which acquired Heller in 2002 and retained the relationship with TransFirst, co-leads the facility.

Travis said Gelm has worked with TransFirst since it was recapitalized in July 2000 and was a key driver to Merrill getting a big role in the deal. "He was the lead on the first credit facility the company took out, when he was with Heller Financial," he said. "Jeff and his knowledge of the industry and his knowledge of our company contributed to it, plus Merrill Lynch Capital is very aggressive. They were aggressive in getting the business." Gelm, who did not return calls, was with GE until late 2002. GE bankers declined to comment.

Syndication of the facility launched last Thursday with one fund putting in a ticket at the bank meeting. The credit is made up of a $35 million unfunded revolver, $50 million "A" loan, $105 million "B" loan and a $75 million junior "C" loan. Pricing talk was LIBOR plus 31/2% on the pro rata, LIBOR plus 4% on the "B" loan and no talk yet on the "C" loan.

Proceeds will go toward refinancing existing debt and the purchase of the agent bank and third party sales division of Fifth Third Bank Processing Solutions. Merrill is also serving as administrative agent. Private equity firm GTCR Golder Rauner recapitalized TransFirst in 2000.

22 Apr 2004