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Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. is taking out a $33.5 billion loan to help finance its purchase of Celgene Corp. in the largest ever pharmaceutical-company acquisition.

The loan will contribute to the $74 billion cash-and-stock deal and be refinanced with $32 billion of new debt, according to filings on Thursday. It will rank as the seventh-largest bridge facility on record, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Morgan Stanley and MUFG Bank Ltd. are underwriting the financing.

The deal may give a boost to what’s expected to be a weak year for investment-grade debt issuance following the worst for the U.S. market in a decade. While strategists at Wells Fargo & Co. expect strong merger and acquisition (M&A) activity within pharmaceuticals, they’re calling for total supply across the sector to fall, according to a Dec. 6 report. They cited Amgen Inc., Biogen Inc., Merck & Co Inc., Gilead Sciences Inc., and Bristol-Myers as potential candidates.

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