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Dell Software Group Nets Financing for EMC Buyout

Credit Suisse and RBC Capital Markets are providing an undisclosed amount of debt financing to back Francisco Partners and Elliott Management’s purchase of Dell Software Group, sources said.

dellPublished reports put the software unit’s purchase price at north of $2 billion. Dell Software provides advanced analytics, database management, data protection, endpoint systems management, identity and access management, Microsoft platform management, network security, and performance monitoring.

Details of the new financing haven’t emerged, but the software group’s two principal businesses, Quest Software and SonicWALL, are both well known to the leveraged finance markets.

A planned $2 billion buyout of Quest by Insight Venture Partners in 2012 was backed by an $820 million senior secured term loan, a $75 million senior secured revolving credit, and a $300 million senior unsecured bridge, all provided by J.P. Morgan, RBC Capital Markets, and Barclays. The company was later sold to Dell instead, and its purchase of SonicWALL occurred around the same time.

Credit Suisse arranged a $155 million first-lien term loan and a $105 million second-lien term loan to support the $717 million buyout of SonicWALL by an investor group led by Thoma Bravo that includes Teachers’ Private Capital back in 2010.

Dell, meanwhile, is expected to use proceeds from the asset sale to repay debt stemming from its recent acquisition of EMC Group, specifically a portion of its $3.2 billion, three-year term loan A-1, which is held by the deal’s underwriters and other commercial banks. —Chris Donnelly

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Revlon Eyes $3B in Leveraged Loan, High Yield Bond Debt for Elizabeth Arden Buy

Revlon disclosed that it has entered into a commitment letter with Citigroup and Bank of America Merrill Lynch providing a $1.8 billion leveraged loan, a $400 million asset-based revolver, and up to $400 million of a senior unsecured bridge loan in connection with the planned $870 million acquisition of Elizabeth Arden. Additionally, Revlon is seeking to privately place $400 million of senior unsecured notes.

The debt financing will be used to fund the acquisition as well as refinance Revlon’s and Elizabeth Arden’s debt. As of March 31, 2016, Revlon had $647.7 million outstanding under its B term loan due 2017 (L+250, 0.75% LIBOR floor) and $649.5 million outstanding under its B term loan due 2019 (L+300, 1% floor).

Revlon

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In the secondary, Revlon’s loans have been up around par. Holders of Revlon 5.75% notes due 2021 have held on to the debt, trade data show. The paper last changed hands at par on June 10, and trading on the notes was light leading up to the announcement. Elizabeth Arden’s 7.375% notes due 2021 saw greater gains. The paper, also not an active mover in the secondary market, changed hands at 102.25 on Friday morning, down slightly from the 102.75 price on Thursday afternoon. Prior to this, however, the notes last sold on May 26 at 72 and a quarter, trade data show.

Revlon’s existing 5.75% notes, which totaled $492.7 million as of March 31, though, will remain outstanding.

Elizabeth Arden, meanwhile, as of March 31, had $42.5 million in borrowings and $3.4 million in letters of credit outstanding under its $300 million revolver due December 2019, $25 million in outstanding borrowings under its second-lien revolver, and $350 million outstanding under its 7.375% senior notes due March 2021.

Revlon expects pro forma leverage will be roughly 4.2x net by the end of 2016.

Revlon and Elizabeth Arden yesterday announced that they have signed an agreement under which Revlon will acquire the outstanding shares of Elizabeth Arden for $14 per share. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of 2016.

New York–based Revlon sells beauty and personal care products. The company’s shares trade on the NYSE under the ticker REV. Elizabeth Arden, which is based in Miramar, Fla., also sells beauty products. Elizabeth Arden’s shares trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker RDEN. Elizabeth Arden is rated CCC+/Caa1. — Richard Kellerhals/Jakema Lewis

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How did ACAS become a takeover target? Answer’s in the portfolio mix

How did American Capital become a takeover target? The answer lies in the lender’s equity-heavy, low-yielding investment portfolio mix.

Ares Capital, which trades on the Nasdaq under the ticker ARCC, announced on May 23 it would buy American Capital in a $3.4 billion deal, excluding the company’s mortgage management businesses. American Capital trades on the Nasdaq as ACAS.

One of American Capital’s strategies was its trademarked One Stop Buyout, where it could invest in debt ranging from senior to junior, as well as preferred and common stock, acquiring control of an operating company through a transaction.

However, the accumulation of equity did not allow the company to maintain the steady dividend growth that investors had grown to rely on.

In November 2008, the company stopped paying dividends and began evaluating them quarterly to better manage volatile markets. At the same time, American Capital announced an expansion into European middle market investing through the acquisition of European Capital. Also that year, American Capital opened an office in Hong Kong, its first office in Asia.

The news of the dividend policy change triggered a plunge in American Capital shares. Shares have persistently traded below book value since.

At its peak, the One Stop Buyout strategy accounted for 65% of American Capital’s portfolio. It has since slashed this to under 20% of the portfolio, of which less than half of that amount is equity. It continues to sell off assets.

In a reflection of the change in investment mix, S&P Global Ratings placed Ares Capital BBB issuer, senior unsecured, and senior secured credit ratings on CreditWatch negative, as a result of the cash and stock acquisition plan.

“The CreditWatch placement reflects our expectation that the acquisition may weaken the combined company’s pro forma risk profile, with a higher level of equity and structured finance investments,” said S&P Global analyst Trevor Martin in a May 23 research note.

At the same time, S&P Global Ratings placed the BB rating on American Capital on CreditWatch positive after the news.

“The CreditWatch reflects our expectation that ACAS will be merged into higher-rated ARCC upon the completion of the transaction, which we expect to close in the second half of 2016. Also, we expect ACAS’ outstanding debt to be repaid in conjunction with the transaction,” S&P Global analyst Matthew Carroll said in a research note.

Not the first time
But Ares Capital says it has a plan. In 2010, Ares acquired Allied Capital, a BDC which pre-dated the financial crisis. On a conference call at the time of the deal announcement, management said it plans a similar strategy for integrating American Capital, of repositioning lower yielding and non-yielding investments into higher-yielding, directly sourced assets.

Ares Capital managed to increase the weighted average yield of the Allied investment portfolio by over 130 bps in the 18 months after the purchase, and reduce non-accrual investments from over 9% to 2.3% by the end of 2012, Michael Arougheti said in the May 23 investor call. Arougheti is co-chairman of Ares Capital and co-founder of Ares.

“The Allied book was a little bit more challenged, or a lot more challenged, than the ACAS portfolio is today,” Arougheti said. Ares Capital’s non-accrual investments totaled 1.3% on a cost basis, or 0.6% at fair value, as of March 31.

“Remember, that acquisition was made against a much different market backdrop. And so, while the roadmap is going to be very similar… this can be a lot less complicated that that transaction was for us.”

The failings of American Capital’s strategy reached fever pitch last November, when the lender capitulated to pressure from activist investor Elliott Management just a week after it raised an issue with the spin-off plan.

American Capital’s management had proposed in late 2014 spinning off two new BDCs to shareholders, and said it would focus on the business of asset management. However, in May last year, management revised the plan, saying it would spin off just one BDC.

But Elliott Management stepped in, announcing in November that it acquired an 8.4% stake. It later increased its stake further, becoming the largest shareholder of American Capital. The company argued that even the new plan would only serve to entrench poorly performing management, and called for management to withdraw the spin-off proposal.

American Capital listened. Within days, American Capital unveiled a strategic review, including a sale of part or all of the company.

One reason for the about-face was likely its incorporation status in Delaware, which made the board vulnerable to annual election. Incorporation in Maryland, utilized by other BDCs, is considered more favorable to management, in part because the election of boards is often staggered.

Although American Capital had shrunk its investment portfolio in recent quarters, it had participated in the market until recently.

Among recent deals, American Capital helped arrange in November a $170 million loan backing an acquisition of Kele, Inc. by Snow Phipps Group. Antares Capital was agent. In June 2015, American Capital was sole lender and second-lien agent on a $51 million second-lien loan backing an acquisition of Compusearch Software Systems by ABRY Partners. — Abby Latour

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Qlik Technologies record $1B loan signals direct lending growing up

With today’s record $1 billion loan to fund an acquisition of Qlik Technologies, BDCs are giving notice that direct lending is moving far beyond its middle market roots to challenge traditionally distributed debt financing.

Ares Capital Corp. is leading the $1.075 financing, announced today, which is the largest-ever unitranche credit facility by a BDC. Unitranche combines different tiers of debt, which normally would have different interest rates, into a single loan.

Private equity firm Thoma Bravo is buying Qlik, based in Radnor, Pa., but founded in Sweden, which provides data visualization and analytics software. Shares trade on Nasdaq under the ticker QLIK.

Golub Capital, TPG’s dedicated credit and special situations platform, or TSSP, and Varagon Capital Partners are also joint lead arrangers.

It remains to be seen if this is the advent of a new lending landscape in which unitranche deals of $1 billion or more are commonplace. The acquisition financing for Qlik Technologies stemmed from a period in the loan market when primary issuance was stalled due to financial market volatility that disrupted usual syndication channels.

Leveraged finance market conditions have since improved. Admittedly, the deal’s structure would be a tougher decision by Thoma Bravo in current conditions than those of two months ago, when risk-averse investors shunned complex-story credits or pushed for economic and structural concessions to levels that made buyouts unattractive.

What’s more, this transaction isn’t expected to close until the third quarter, when financial market conditions could be far different than those offered in what is, for now, a buoyant environment for credit. Minimizing risk due to the syndication process is far more attractive to a buyer in most cases.

The transaction is subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.

A merger deal announced last week stoked expectations that larger loan deals may be ahead from BDCs. Ares Capital, which trades on Nasdaq under the ticker ARCC, announced on May 23 it would buy rival lender American Capital, which trades on Nasdaq as ACAS, for $3.4 billion.

Ares management made no secret of the fact that the company’s purchase of American Capital would allow Ares to originate larger loans, thus generating more underwriting and distribution fees.

In an investor presentation about the purchase of American Capital, Ares pointed out how volatile market conditions had led to enhanced pricing and terms, and increased regulatory burden for banks was opening opportunities for them.

Market volatility—as well as increased regulatory scrutiny of commercial banks that emerged more than two years ago—had already opened the door to club-like transactions by BDCs, which will likely hold the majority of the debt for the Qlik deal.

BDCs are able, and willing, to accept higher leverage levels than banks. In the case of Qlik Technologies, the transaction is expected to result in leverage of more than 6x, sources said.

What’s more, the company generates most revenue outside the U.S., and EBITDA is highly adjusted, creating a structurally complex deal, sources said. Significant cost savings are expected through the buyout.

Such adjustments can present hurdles for banks looking to gain internal approvals to underwrite debt deals, and the prospect of a new alternative financing channel could spur renewed interest in buyout business.

Notably, the $1.075 billion unitranche loan for Qlik Technologies accounts for around one-third of the roughly $3 billion purchase price. Under terms of the acquisition, Qlik shareholders will receive $30.50 in cash per share.

Ares Capital says it is committed to holding a large portion of the financing. At the same time, Ares Capital said it would lead a syndication process to attract more lenders to the credit facility, but only a small part is expected to be syndicated.

“We believe this transaction is representative of the growing acceptance of direct lending as a mature asset class, and we believe our market leading position puts us in the forefront of this paradigm shift,” said Kipp deVeer, Ares Capital CEO, in a statement today.

Ares Capital is no stranger to larger-sized deals.

Last year, Ares Capital closed an $800 million loan for American Seafoods Group, another example of a non-regulated arranger capturing lending business that usually would have gone to a large bank. American Seafoods used proceeds to refinance debt and fund a bond exchange.

The amount of Ares Capital’s exposure to this investment has since shrunk.

As of March 31, the fair value of the American Seafood investment in Ares Capital’s investment portfolio totaled $81.7 million, including first-lien debt, second-lien debt, equity, and warrants. The largest of these was a $55 million, L+900 second-lien loan due 2022, with a fair value of $53 million.

The per-share purchase price for Qlik represents a 40% premium over $21.83, which was the average share price in the 10 days prior to March 3.

On March 3, activist shareholder Elliott Management unveiled an investment in Qlik Technologies, a move that prompted the company to put itself up for sale. Later that month, Qlik hired Morgan Stanley to explore a possible sale of the company, Reuters reported. — Abby Latour

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Ares Capital grows even bigger with $3.4B American Capital purchase

Two of the largest listed BDCs are merging to form a middle market lending behemoth that will have $13 billion in investments (at fair value). The largest, Ares Capital (ticker: ARCC), announced yesterday that it’s buying American Capital (ticker: ACAS) for $3.4 billion.

The purchase will put even more miles between ARCC and its nearest competitor, now Prospect Capital (ticker: PSEC), which has $6.2 billion in assets against ARCC’s $9.3 billion. The ACAS portfolio will give ARCC another $4.7 billion in investments and expand the number of portfolio companies to 385 from 220.

With the purchase, ARCC will gain scale and flexibility to underwrite larger commitments to compete against traditional banks. Last year’s financing for American Seafoods Group whetted ARCC’s appetite for bigger names. After all, bigger deals generate bigger underwriting and distribution fees. ARCC underwrote an $800 million loan for American Seafoods, snagging a mandate that typically would’ve gone to large banks.

ARCC management yesterday said that it wants the ability to extend commitments of $500 million to $1 billion for any one transaction, with the aim of holding $250 million, whereas before ARCC would go as large as $300 million, with the aim of holding $100 million.

The ACAS purchase also will give ARCC more breathing room under its 30% non-qualifying bucket to ramp its new joint-venture fund with Varagon. The Varagon platform is replacing ARCC’s joint-venture with GE Capital, which began to wind down last year in the wake of GE Capital asset sales.

The boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved the acquisition.

The purchase requires shareholder approvals and is contingent on the $562 million sale of ACAS’s mortgage unit to American Capital Agency (ticker: AGNC) in a separate transaction.

Elliott Management, holder of a 14.4% interest in American Capital, strongly supports the transactions and will vote its shares in favor.

Ares Management agreed to an income-based fee waiver of up to $100 million for the first ten quarters after closing.

The combined company will remain externally managed by Ares Capital Management LLC, and all current Ares Capital officers and directors will remain in their current roles.

ACAS will continue with planned asset sales ahead of closing, in collaboration with Ares. ACAS hired Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse in January to vet buyers. Since March 31, ACAS has announced sales of over $550 million in balance sheet investments. In addition to the mortgage business, ACAS is looking to sell its European Capital assets. — Kelly Thompson/Jon Hemingway

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CORE Entertainment files Ch. 11 as American Idol popularity wanes

CORE Entertainment, the owner and producer of American Idol, has filed for bankruptcy as the once-popular television show concluded its final season.

The company’s debt included a $200 million 9% senior secured first-lien term loan due 2017 dating from 2011, and a $160 million 13.5% second-lien term loan due 2018. U.S. Bank replaced Goldman Sachs as agent on both loans, which stem from Apollo’s buyout of the company, formerly known as CKx Entertainment, in 2012.

Principal and interest under the first-lien credit agreement has grown to $209 million, and on the second-lien loan to $189 million, court documents showed.

A group of first-lien lenders consisting of Tennenbaum Capital Partners, Bayside Capital, and Hudson Bay Capital Management have hired Klee, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern and Houlihan Lokey Capital as advisors. Together with Credit Suisse Asset Management and CIT Bank, these lenders hold 64% of the company’s first-lien debt.

Crestview Media Investors, which holds 34.8% of first-lien debt and 79.2% under the second-lien loan, hired Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Millstein & Co. as advisors.

The debtor also owes $17 million in principal and interest under an 8% senior unsecured promissory note.

CORE Entertainment, and its operating subsidiary Core Media Group, owns stakes in the American Idol television franchise and the So You Think You Can Dance television franchise.

The company’s business model relied upon continued popularity of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. In late 2013, the company sold ownership of most of rights to the name and image of boxer Muhammed Ali, and of trademarks to the name and image of Elvis Presley and the operation of Graceland, and failed to acquire assets to offset the loss of that revenue.

The bankruptcy filing was blamed on the cancellation of American Idol by FOX for the 2017 season. Following a decline in ratings, FOX said that the 2016 season would be the show’s final one.

The filing was today in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. — Abby Latour

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ExamWorks nets financing for buyout by Leonard Green

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, and Deutsche Bank have committed to provide the debt financing that will back the roughly $2.2 billion buyout of NYSE-listed ExamWorks by Leonard Green & Partners. Details of the financing are not yet available.

The private equity firm would pay $35.05 per share, according to the company. The acquisition, which was announced this morning, is expected to be completed in the third quarter, subject to shareholder approval and customary closing conditions.

ExamWorks has $500 million outstanding of 5.625% notes due 2023. That deal priced in April 2015 via a Bank of America Merrill Lynch–led bookrunner group with proceeds earmarked to refinance existing debt. The B–/B3 notes changed hands last week in a 103.25-103.5 context, trade data shows.

Atlanta, Ga.–based ExamWorks is a provider of independent medical examinations, peer reviews, bill reviews, Medicare compliance, case-management, and other related services. The company recorded $140.7 million of adjusted EBITDA in 2015 on revenue of $819.6 million. Existing corporate ratings are B+/B2. — Jon Hemingway

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Littlejohn-backed Interior Specialists to acquire HD Supply unit

Interior Specialists, Inc. (ISI), a portfolio company of Littlejohn & Co., has agreed to buy the Interior Solutions unit of Nasdaq-listed HD Supply for an undisclosed amount. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter, according to the company.

Further details regarding the transaction were not disclosed.

The acquired business, formerly known as Creative Touch Interiors, is a provider of design center management and installation services to homebuilders.

ISI last summer closed on a $74.3 million term loan to support another acquisition and to refinance existing debt. Garrison Investment Group was lead arranger on the transaction, and as of Dec. 31, BDC Garrison Capital was holding $10.2 million of a first-lien term loan due June 2020, priced at L+800 with a 1% floor. PennantPark Investment Corp. ($25.4 million) and PennantPark Floating Rate Capital ($6.8 million) are also in the loan.

Interior Specialists, based in Carlsbad, Calif., is a new construction interior finishing contractor that supplies and installs flooring, cabinetry, countertops, window coverings, and builder construction options, including appliances, to the residential and commercial builder trades. Littlejohn acquired ISI in 2014. — Jon Hemingway

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Mid-States Supply bought by Staple Street in bankruptcy court sale

Middle-market private equity firm Staple Street Capital has acquired Mid-States Supply Company through a bankruptcy court sale.

The buyer was the stalking-horse bidder in a Section 363 bankruptcy court auction. The purchase price was $25 million in cash, with a negative adjustment for working capital, plus certain liabilities, court documents showed.

The company filed Chapter 11 in February in the Western District of Missouri.

The bankruptcy court documents said Mid-States Supply Company initially owed $45 million under a credit agreement with Wells Fargo dating from 2011, a loan which eventually increased to $60 million. However, this amount had shrunk to $16 million by the time of the asset-sale closing, and was not assumed by the buyer.

SSG Advisors and Frontier Investment Banc Corporation were hired as investment bankers for the sale process.

Kansas City, Mo.–based Mid-States Supply sells pipes, valves, fittings, and controls, and provides related services to the refining, oil-and-gas, and industrial markets.

Staple Street Capital is investing from a $265 million fund, and targets $15–75 million of equity per transaction, aiming at control investments. Founders are Stephen Owens, formerly of the Carlyle Group, and Hootan Yaghoobzadeh, formerly of Cerberus Capital Management. — Abby Latour

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World Kitchen nets financing for acquisition by GP Investments SPAC

Citigroup and BMO Capital Markets have committed to provide $275 million of debt financing to support to proposed acquisition of World Kitchen by Nasdaq-listed blank check company GP Investments Acquisition Corp. (GPIAC) in a $566 million transaction. The financing will include a new B term loan and an ABL facility.

Proceeds from the loan, together with cash from GPIAC and a co-investment from GP Investments, will be used to fund the acquisition, repay roughly $242 million of existing debt, and add cash to the balance sheet. Note that existing World Kitchen shareholders will roll equity for about a 20% ownership stake.

Pro forma leverage at closing would be 3.6x, based on expected 2016 adjusted EBITDA of $78 million, and 3x on a net basis, according to an investor presentation. The company will have $43 million of cash on the balance sheet at closing.

The transaction is expected to close in July, subject to approval by GPIAC shareholders and other customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. At closing, World Kitchen Group will be listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker WDKN.

World Kitchen manufactures dinnerware, bakeware, storage, cookware, and cutlery and markets the products under a variety of brand names, including Pyrex, Corelle, Corningware, Snapware, Baker’s Secret, Chicago Cutlery, and Vintage Charm. Company management is guiding fiscal 2016 adjusted EBITDA of $78 million on net sales of $667 million. Those figures for 2015 were $77 million and $672 million, respectively.

World Kitchen in March 2013 placed a $190 million B term loan due March 2019 (L+425, 1.25% LIBOR floor) in a refinancing effort. The company approached the market later in the year with a $62 million add-on that funded a dividend to sponsors W Capital Partners and Oaktree Capital Management.

Existing corporate and facility ratings are B/B1, and S&P’s recovery rating on the debt is 3H.

GPIAC is a special purpose acquisition company that completed its IPO in May 2015, raising $172.5 million of gross proceeds. The company’s sponsor is GPIC, Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Brazil-based private equity firm GP Investments, Ltd. — Jon Hemingway