Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Goldman, JPMorgan Stuck With Debt They Can't Sell to Investors

Schadenfreude! Almost on a daily basis news are coming out that the "golden era" that Henry Kravis has described just a few month ago is not so golden anymore......

Kann meine Schadenfreude nicht wirklich unterdrücken. Es kommen momentan fast täglich Meldungen das das sog. "goldene Zeitalter" (Zitat Henry Kravis) für Private Equity bereits einige Monate später weniger golden ist.....

July 17 (Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the rest of Wall Street are stuck with at least $11 billion of loans and bonds they can't readily sell.

The banks have had to dig into their own pockets to finance parts of at least five leveraged buyouts over the past month because of the worst bear market in high-yield debt in more than two years, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Bankers, who just a few months ago boasted that demand for high-yield assets was so great that they would have no problem raising debt for a $100 billion LBO, are now paying for their overconfidence. The cost of tying up their own capital may curb earnings and stem the flood of LBOs, which generated a record $8.4 billion in fees during the first half of 2007, according to Brad Hintz, the former chief financial officer at New York-based Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.
``The private equity firms, being very tough negotiators, are unlikely to let the banks off the hook,'' said Martin Fridson, chief executive officer of high-yield research firm FridsonVision LLC in New York. ``They'll say that's your problem and that's why we're paying you: To take risk.''

As the market began to turn sour last month, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup Inc., Lehman and Wachovia Corp. had to buy $725 million of bonds that Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based Dollar General Corp. was selling to finance Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. purchase of the company for $6.9 billion.

Bonds Tumble
Those bonds are probably worth 94 cents on the dollar, or $43.5 million less than when they were sold on June 28,

Bear Stearns Cos. strategists estimate that about $290 billion of deals still need to get funded, including those of Greenwood Village, Colorado-based credit-card processor First Data Corp. and energy company TXU Corp. of Dallas. ...
>Here are the details from the TXU Deal and i have the feeling that the pricing of the debt could be lots of fun.....

Record Sales
Acquisitions by private equity firms such as New York's KKR and Blackstone Group LP helped push sales of high-yield bonds and loans worldwide up more than 70 percent during the first half of the year to a record $708 billion,

The investment banking fees generated by LBOs in the first half amounted to almost two-thirds of the $12.8 billion paid by LBO firms to Wall Street in 2006, data compiled by Freeman & Co. and Thomson Financial show. In the race to win deals, the five largest U.S. investment banks more than tripled their lending commitments to non-investment grade borrowers during the past year to $174 billion, according to their regulatory filings.

KKR co-founder Henry Kravis in May called it the ``golden era'' of buyouts at a conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The extra yield investors demanded to own junk bonds rather than Treasuries shrank to a record low of 2.41 percentage points in June from the peak of more than 10 percentage points in 2002, according to index data from New York-based Merrill Lynch & Co.

No Escape
For loans rated four or five levels below investment grade, the spread over the London interbank offered rate shrank to 2.12 percentage points in February from more than 4 percentage points in 2003. It has since widened to 2.72 percentage points.

Some bankers even speculated that $100 billion LBO was possible, a scenario that is now ``definitely'' off the table,

Just three of the 40 biggest pending LBOs have an escape clause that lets the buyer back out if funding can't be arranged, . A couple of years ago, a majority of deals included a financing contingency, Belin said, based on his research.

Market Cracks
The market for high-yield bonds and junk-rated, or leveraged loans began to crack in June as concerns that LBOs were becoming too risky coincided with a slump in the market for subprime mortgages that caused the near-collapse of two Bear Stearns hedge funds.

Junk bonds lost 1.61 percent last month, the most since March 2005 when General Motors Corp. forecast its biggest quarterly loss since 1992 and the debt lost 2.73 percent, according to Merrill Lynch.

In most deals, investment banks promise to provide loans to the buyer. They then seek other lenders to take pieces of the loans and find buyers for bonds. When buyers vanish, the banks must either buy the bonds themselves or provide a bridge loan to the borrower, tying up capital that would otherwise be used to finance more deals. The banks typically parcel out portions of bridge loans to reduce their risk.

Lending Commitments
Citigroup, the biggest U.S. bank, reported that its securities and banking division recorded an expense of $286 million in the first quarter to increase loan-loss reserves to account for higher commitments to leveraged transactions and an increase in the average length of loans.

Lehman reported on July 10 that its commitments for ``contingent acquisition facilities'' more than doubled in the quarter ended May 31 to $43.9 billion, exceeding its stock market capitalization of $39.1 billion. Lehman said its commitments contain ``flexible pricing features'' that allow it to charge more if market conditions deteriorate.

Goldman Sachs more than doubled its lending commitments to non-investment grade borrowers to $71.5 billion in the year ended May 31.

The biggest concern is ``hung deals,'' where a lender is left holding a large loan to a single borrower, said Azarchs. ``Those traditionally in all the prior credit cycles have caused the greatest amount of grief for the large syndicating banks,'' Azarchs said.

For firms such as KKR or Blackstone, both based in New York, the tighter credit environment may make their acquisitions less profitable and even change the way they go after future targets. Mark Semer, a spokesman for KKR, declined to comment.

``The underwriters are going to be forced to provide bridge loans and it's getting pretty ugly, but Wall Street deserves to get smacked around a little,'' said William Featherston, managing director in high-yield at J. Giordano Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut. ``It's been easy for so long.''
Disclosure: short GS, long UBS
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The banks have had to dig into their own pockets to finance parts of at least five leveraged buyouts over the past month...

Sorry, but I disagree. First, they have no money of their own, it is all OPM. They are grifters, plain and simple. Second, the PPT will give them as much money as they want at the expense of the currency. Welcome to fascist Amerika.

11:42 AM  
Blogger jmf said...

Moin Edgar,

at least they have to work a little bit harder to make big bucks :-)

6:00 AM  

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