Loans à la Mode

Following our story last week on skyrocketing costs of natural vanilla flavoring, fans of confectionary innovation alerted us to another development on the sweets front. A Swiss company is launching “ruby chocolate” to appeal to millennial appetites as well as to open foreign markets less known for chocoholics. While not available to consumers until 2018,

Flavor of the Month

Turns out there’s nothing plain about vanilla. Back in March a huge storm – cyclone Enawo – struck Madagascar, a major grower responsible for supplying 80% of the world’s vanilla pods. That crop devastation caused pod prices to hit a record high this year of $600 per kilogram. “It has been ridiculous,” said the chief

Back to School

For many of us the post-Labor Day week means reacclimating to the concept of being in front of a computer in an office. And not in your bathing suit. For those in the leveraged loan market, it means wondering whether deal activity will see its usual September resurgence, and what that will mean for terms


By all accounts it was worth waiting for. The 10th Procrastination Research Conference, held last month in Chicago, featured sixty professionals – mostly psychologists and behavioral economists – from around the world. Besides reviewing the latest findings in this unusual field, attendees discussed why so many people – one in five of us – qualify

How Big is the Middle Market? (Last of a Series)

So far we’ve used three methodologies to size the universe of middle market loans. Using annual issuance data and average life calculations, we arrived at outstandings of $410 billion, before run-off and refinancings. Then we took the middle market refinancing cliff, which is overstated relative to outstandings, to come up with a midcap universe of

How Big is the Middle Market? (Third of a Series)

Last week we looked at sponsored middle market loan volume to come up with an idea of how large the midcap universe is. Before run-offs and refinancings, we came up with a figure of $410 billion. Now we turn our attention to the sponsored middle market refinancing cliff. As our Chart of the Week highlights, about $238

How Big is the Middle Market? (Second of a Series)

To get a better handle on the total universe of middle market loans, let’s define what we mean by the middle market. Should we include, for example, both non-sponsored as well as sponsored loan volume? Thomson Reuters LPC estimates there’s been an average of $100 billion in annual non-sponsored activity since 2000. But these financings

How Big is the Middle Market? (First of a Series)

As great mysteries of life go, it’s not quite in the same category as what’s the universe made of, how does gravity work, or what ever happened to tan M&Ms. But for those who make it our career home, one of the most often-asked and vexing questions over the years has been, how big is

Refi Madness

If sheer volume means anything, total syndicated loan activity in the US for the first half of the year was singular. According to Thomson Reuters LPC, more than $1.2 trillion of paper – both investment and non-investment grade – was distributed through June 30. That was a bigger number than any other half-year on record. Digging

Fall Risk

It was probably mission impossible, but we gamely tried this week to complete a personal Top Ten list. This one is called “Top Ten Best Things About Rupturing Your Quadriceps Tendon in Church on Father’s Day.” #10 came quickly. “The minister was right there to deliver last rites.” #9 was relatively easy: “A brand-new walker