What Inning Are We In? (First of a Series)

That’s the perennial question that leading direct lenders addressed last week on a panel moderated by your correspondent at the 25th Annual Atlantic Conferences Middle Market Symposium. As the event was technically closed to the press, we can’t report on what was discussed. Instead, let’s cover the broad themes confronting market observers as they focus on where we are in the business cycle.

The “inning” metaphor is well-worn. We came across a media report forecasting the US is in the “final innings of economic growth.” That came out over two years ago (http://www.businessinsider.com/us-is-final-innings-of-economic-growth-2016-3).

We know the exuberance of the current leveraged loan market dates back to at least 2014. That’s when debt/ebitda levels started feeling toppy again. “This should last for a couple more innings,” investors told themselves, and modeled in a downturn for 2016 or 2017...


Quote of the Week

“There’s this cloud of geopolitical uncertainty that’s overshadowing the fact that we have a fairly sturdy backdrop in the US.” – Emily Roland, head of capital markets research, John Hancock Investments.

Chart of the Week: Back to 2007?

There’s a way to go before rates reach the levels attained just before the credit crisis.

Lead Left Spotlight

Rod Rivera & David Baker

Managing Directors

Capstone Headwaters

"Value-based care is definitely the theme of the day."

Read Interview

Andrew Welch

Managing Director

Revelstoke Capital Partners

"We believe scale matters, particularly in healthcare."

Read Interview

Bram Smith & Lee Shaiman

Outgoing and Incoming Executive Director


"Despite the financial crisis and a sharp pricing drop, loans and CLOs actually performed as promised."

Read Interview

Upcoming Interview: Mark Habner

Co-Founder & CEO

BeckWay Group

Read Interview

Upcoming Interview: Peter Magas

Managing Director

Beecken Petty O'Keefe & Company

Read Interview

Read more interviews

Subscribe Now!

Join the leading voice of the middle market. Try us free for 30 days. Click here to view the Newsletter sample.

What is the Lead Left?


  • One-stop source for deals and data
  • Market trend commentary and analysis
  • Exclusive interviews with thought leaders

Subscribe now

View Article By


Leveraged Loan Insight & Analysis – 5/21/2018

Oil & gas loan prices climb in tandem with higher oil prices Secondary market oil and gas loan prices have climbed 137 bps so far this year in tandem with higher oil prices that surprised, jumping almost $11 this year to $71.3 a barrel. Oil and gas loans have rebounded from the lows hit in

View Article

The Pulse of Private Equity – 5/21/2018

PE’s massive consolidation in healthcare Download Report click here. Healthcare-related PE activity broke records last year. Both counts and value reached new highs in 2017, according to RSM’s Q1 Healthcare and Life Sciences Report, done in conjunction with PitchBook. In all, 692 transactions were done totaling $86.1 billion in North America....

View Article

PDI Picks – 5/21/2018

Fewer managers collecting more of the capital  Private credit vehicles seeking capital fell from the record level reached in the first half of 2017. The number of private debt funds raising money has fallen slightly from a record number at the middle of last year but it remains strong; as of 31 March, there were

View Article

Markit Recap – 5/21/2018

Has contagion returned to the eurozone? Bismarck said politics was the art of the possible. Holders of sovereign bonds issued by eurozone peripherals will be hoping this aphorism applies to Italy’s incoming government. A populist coalition formed of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the right-wing League, which looks set to form a government, seemed

View Article

Private Debt Intelligence – 5/21/2018

Women Account for Less than a Fifth of Private Debt Employees The lack of female representation in alternative assets has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, as women account for less than a fifth of employees in firms across all alternative asset classes. When looking at the representation of women in different levels seniority,

View Article

Middle Market Deal Terms at a Glance

provided by

spp capital partners logo

State of the Capital Markets – First Quarter 2018 Review and Second Quarter 2018 Outlook

Review of Current Market Conditions/ Analysis of Capital Markets Metrics/ Review of Credit Quality/ Outlook for Second Quarter 2018

Special Report: Spot-lite on Cov-lite

Beginning in October 2017 The Lead Left published a series of articles on covenant-lite. This report consolidates those articles.

State of the Capital Markets – Fourth Quarter 2017 Review and First Quarter 2018 Outlook

Review of Current Market Conditions/ Analysis of Capital Markets Metrics/ Review of Credit Quality/ Outlook for First Quarter 2018