According to Standard & Poor’s, 2010 is on pace to match the annual total dividend-related financings during the 2005-2007 “Golden Age” of private equity. A recent Wall Street Journal article, citing S&P, reports that companies have already sold $40.3 billion in dividend-related financing loans and bonds this year as compared to $56.2 billion and $55 billion in 2006 and 2007, respectively.

The latest in this wave of new dividend-related financings was announced by Hospital Corporation of America ("HCA"), the Tennessee-based hospital operator that was acquired for approximately $33 billion in 2006 by a leveraged buyout consortium led by KKR, Bain Capital and Merrill Lynch & Co. HCA plans to pay a $2 billion dividend to its equity investors, which will be financed, in large part, through the sale of high yield bonds maturing in 2021 and yielding to bondholders a dividend rate of 7.75%.

The deal is structured as a “holding company dividend recapitalization,” a structure made popular during the pre-credit-crunch LBO boom, but disappearing after the crisis. HCA plans to create a newly formed Delaware company, HCA Holdings Inc., to issue the bonds. The new unsecured bonds will be funded by HCA’s operations and structurally subordinated to existing HCA debt.

Dunkin’ Brands, Burlington Coat Factory and Petco are among other companies that are raising new debt to return capital to their private equity sponsors.