Banks have again started to provide large bridge financings for deals, and in some case keep all of the lending business for themselves rather than spread the risk over a syndicate, an indication of just how competitive the world of corporate and commercial lending is becoming. Take for example the JPMorganChase $20 billion unsecured bridge loan to fund AT&T’s $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom.
Overall, Cooley’s data pointed to a year marked by slow but steady improvement in the financing environment. In 2010, deal volumes reached a level not seen in the last five years. Median pre-money valuations increased across all deal stages and saw a significant increase in “up rounds” versus flat/down rounds. Up rounds represented 60% of all financings in 2010, a level not seen since 2008. Additionally, the percentage of recapitalization transactions fell in 2010, though the number of tranched deals remained flat from prior years.
Forbes Insights, in association with CIT, recently published the report “U.S. Small Business and Middle Market Outlook 2010”.
As banks saw increased competition for commercial & industrial lending, credit standards began to ease in the second quarter, according to the Federal Reserve. Of the senior loan officers surveyed in July, 12.5% indicated a relative easing of credit on large and middle-market borrowers (revenues in excess of $50 million), and 14.5% indicated a relative easing of credit for smaller firms, the first time credit standards have eased for small firms since 2006.
Wall Street Journal article by Tom Barkley. Declaring small businesses as “central” to tackling unemployment, the Fed chief said not enough is being done to ensure that financially sound companies can obtain loans.
On June 9th, my partners and I met with more than twenty private equity firms at the ACG Boston Dealsource event. The program gave us a unique opportunity to talk in depth about the leveraged buy-outs that are getting done, the debt financing available for these transactions, and the impact of liquidity – or a lack thereof, on financial sponsors.
“Overall, the results suggest that the bundle of inputs that angel investors provide have a large and significant impact on the success and survival of start-up ventures,” the study says.
The study examined the performance of 130 firms that received interest from Tech Coast Angels and CommonAngels between 2001 and 2006. The samples include companies that ultimately won funding or were turned down.
This article gives a brief description of a dozen common solutions for middle-market financing, including revolving credit, factoring, sale-leaseback arrangements, and more. I recommend it as a good starting point to evaluate the options for a small or middle-market business that needs cash (and can’t wait). It also points out the potential drawbacks of each option.