It’s accepted wisdom in the publishing world that magazines sell better with headlines like “The 7 Fastest Ways to Lose Weight,” “The 5 Most Awesome Martinis,” and “The 10 Hottest Vacation Spots.”

Ordinarily a sophisticated finance journal such The Lead Left would never stoop to that kind of promotional gimmick. But, in the immortal words of Strother Martin, “this ain’t ordinarily.”

2020 was a year that redefined surprise, unveiling a sequence of unexpected, yet related, developments. In capital formation these arose from the blend of COVID-19 coursing through the nation and economy, combined with central bank liquidity...

“The outlook for 2021 is unlikely to follow the template that was crafted at the end of the year.” – Jim Vogel, interest rate strategist, FHN Financial.

Featuring Charts

Chart of the Week: Returns Department

January 14, 2021

Leveraged loan prices recovered steadily through 2Q and 3Q 2020, bringing cumulative returns to positive territory.

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Chart of the Week: Steady As She Goes

January 7, 2021

Last year was Exhibit A on how non-traded loans perform amid volatility relative to their liquid cousins.

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Chart of the Week: SPAC Up the Truck

December 17, 2020

The value of initial business combinations (IBCs) produced by SPAC IPOs has reached unprecedented levels in 2020.

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Chart of the Week: SPAC Race

December 10, 2020

SPAC related IPOs are showing higher float rotation on the dates deals are announced.

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Chart of the Week: SPACtator Sport

December 2, 2020

The number of special purpose acquisition company filings have ramped up sharply.

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Chart of the Week: SPACtacular

November 19, 2020

Market volatility and dry powder pushed special purpose acquisition company activity to record levels.

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Features

The Pulse of Private Equity – 1/11/2021

Growth rounds hit record Download PitchBook’s Report here. US PE growth activity hit a record in 2020 in terms of value, according to the 2020 Annual US PE Breakdown. At $62.5 billion, 2020 just leapfrogged 2018 by the dollar metric, even though volume hit its lowest level since 2013. The 810 transactions had an average deal

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Leveraged Loan Insight & Analysis – 1/11/2021

Middle market non-sponsored syndicated volume was up 65% in 4Q20 Non sponsored syndicated loan volume bounced back to total US$19.7bn in 4Q20, the highest quarterly level since 4Q19. In the last couple of years, the non-sponsored middle market had been chugging along, as corporate issuers were cautious about undertaking any expansion plans....

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Private Debt Intelligence – 1/11/2021

Record Number of Private Debt Funds in Market Private debt funds in market have reached a new record high, and there are now more find seeking for capital than ever before. The start of 2021 saw a total of 547 private debt funds on the road targeting a record $290bn in combined capital commitments....

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PDI Picks – 1/11/2021

Fundraising takes a dip The pandemic has taken its toll on fundraising, but the largest managers appear to be benefitting. Unsurprisingly perhaps, private debt fundraising dropped to its lowest level in more than six years during 2020 as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic hit world markets. Preliminary data from PDI’s upcoming Fundraising Report 2020

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DL Deals: News & Analysis – 1/4/2021

Volume surged in December, strong M&A tone carries into first week of 2021 Direct lenders established a new high watermark for volume in December, setting the tone for an aggressive first quarter in 2021. Last month’s volume soared past every previous monthly tally since DLD launched in September 2019....

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Middle Market Deal Terms at a Glance

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State of the Capital Markets – Fourth Quarter 2020 Review and First Quarter 2021 Outlook

January 14, 2021

Review of Current Market Conditions/ Analysis of Capital Markets Metrics/ Review of Credit Quality/ Outlook for First Quarter 2021

Special Report: COVID-19 and M&A Activity

December 1, 2020

Beginning in July 2020 The Lead Left published a series of articles on COVID-impacted deal flow. This report consolidates those articles.

Special Report: Post-pandemic: The New Healthcare

October 6, 2020

Beginning in June 2020 The Lead Left published a series of articles on post-pandemic healthcare. This report consolidates those articles.