Netflix Will Raise $400 Million To Fund European Expansion, Original Programming

Netflix formally announced today that it will raise $400 million in new debt to fuel international expansions, specifically in Europe, as well for other expenditures, including investments, acquisitions, and reportedly, more original content, too. The company will raise the money by offering institutional investors 10-year senior notes – something it had first disclosed during last month’s Q4 2013 earnings.

At the time, Netflix said it planned to significantly expand its footprint in Europe later this year, but didn’t say where that expansion would happen. In today’s brief announcement, Netflix says that the additional principal will be used for “general corporate purposes, including capital expenditures, investments, working capital and potential acquisitions and strategic transactions.”

However, Variety is reporting that funding original content is also one of its intended use cases, citing Netflix’s 10-K annual report filed on Monday with the SEC where the company notes its plans to “significantly increase our investments in international expansion, including substantial expansion in Europe in 2014, and in original content.”

“As a result, and to take advantage of the current favorable interest rate environment, we plan to obtain approximately $400 million in long term debt in the first quarter of 2014,” the report also stated.

Netflix in 2013 took major strides at becoming a serious player in Hollywood, earning its first Emmy for “House of Cards” this past fall, as well as an Oscar nomination for a documentary depicting the 2011 Egyptian revolution called “The Square.” It also has other well received TV shows under its belt, including “Orange is the New Black,” the older “Lilyhammer,” the reboot of “Arrested Development,” and other documentaries like “The Short Game,” and “Mitt.”

The company beat analyst expectations in the fourth quarter with earnings at 79 cents per share on revenues of $1.175 billion, which were above Wall Street’s forecast of $1.16 billion. More importantly, the company announced 2.3 million new domestic subscribers, which was at the high-end of the range it had earlier provided (1.6m-2.4m). The company ended the year with 33.4 million domestic members.

Its overseas footprint is smaller at present, with 10.93 million members by the end of 2013. Today, Netflix is available in 41 countries, mainly in Latin America, but it hasn’t moved deeply into Europe beyond the U.K., Nordic nations and the Netherlands. That means there’s still plenty of room for growth for the company, especially in Western Europe, where the market for streaming video is expected to grow faster than the whole, according to research from SNL Kagan, reported previously by The WSJ. Western Europe has 134 million broadband homes currently, compared with 88 million in the U.S.