8 Firms Picked To Underwrite Vikings Stadium Funding

Eight financial services firms—led by RBC Capital Markets—were selected to provide underwriting services for the issuance of bonds to finance the new stadium.

The State of Minnesota has picked eight financial services firms to help underwrite taxpayers’ $498 million portion of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium.

Minnesota Management & Budget (MMB) in late September issued a request for proposals soliciting bids from financial institutions interested in participating in underwriting the issuance of bonds.

Twin Cities Business reported earlier this month that 22 firms responded to the RFP.

MMB spokesman John Pollard on Tuesday provided Twin Cities Business with a copy of the email notification that his agency is distributing to the eight firms. Pollard said that he will disclose the value of the contracts once they are complete, but details were likely still being negotiated Tuesday afternoon.

MMB’s email indicates that the underwriting services will be led by RBC Capital Markets, which is labeled as “senior manager/bookrunner.”

J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo Securities, meanwhile, are listed as “co-seniors,” and the following firms have been selected as “co-managers”: Piper Jaffray, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Cronin & Company, and Loop Capital Markets.

The firms were selected to provide underwriting services for the issuance of appropriation bonds, which will be used to fund the portion of stadium costs for which the city and state (in other words, taxpayers) are responsible.

The RFP indicated that the proceeds of the bond sales will help fund a portion of the costs for acquiring, constructing, and equipping the new stadium. The bonds are expected to be issued over the course of two years, and underwriters’ role is essentially to purchase the bonds from the state and then resell them to investors.

Design plans call for the Vikings stadium, which will be nearly twice the size of the Metrodome, to feature five, 95-foot-tall pivoting glass doors that will open towards the downtown Minneapolis skyline. The stadium will span 1.6 million square feet—and it will seat 65,000 people for NFL games and accommodate up to 73,000 for special events, like a Super Bowl. (It’s reportedly in the running to host the 2018 Super Bowl.)

Groundbreaking for the new stadium is expected to occur this month, with demolition starting in early 2014. The new stadium is scheduled to open in time for the Vikings 2016 season.

In separate news, MMB announced Monday that a general obligation bond sale was originally scheduled for Tuesday but was delayed until Thursday, due to “the heavy supply of bond issues in the market this week and the timing of the release of the unemployment numbers.” That sale is not, however, related to the bonds that will be used to pay for the Vikings stadium.