The Back to School Issue

With some anxiety, we watched our five-year-old daughter walk up to the school bus yesterday morning, on her way to the first day of kindergarten. As she climbed aboard, we overheard one of her classmates ask, “Is that your grandfather?”

As a pesky questioner ourselves, we admired the young boy’s pluck. Although it injected a mild stinger into our post-Outer Banks bliss, we realized the moment could have been considerably worse: our child’s mother could have been the object of his inquiry.

This week also kicked off our own probing into the loan market’s true identity. What will the fourth quarter bring? Are we headed for an investor-friendly correction? Will loans echo the bullish state of the public markets? Whither pricing? Fund flows? Deal flow?

Let’s take these one at a time. As we’ve discussed in previous columns, all signs point to an ongoing seller’s market – very liquid, but measured. Private equity sponsors need to put money to work, and the best will do so with aggressive structures and pricing. But story credits will still require more yield, and tighter covenants.