Heads and Tails

News reached us last week of a two-headed snake found in the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey. The young timber rattlesnake(s?), nicknamed Double Dave, was discovered by two environmentalists, Dave Schneider and Dave Burkett. Co-headedness, known as polycephaly, happens rarely in nature, and occasionally in finance. Double Dave’s brains operate independently. But two heads

Par for the Course

Despite our known deficiencies on the links, we were invited last week to a superb round of golf with other direct lending professionals at a course in Summit, NJ. ‘Superb’ because we walked away with ‘closest-to-the-pin’ honors. Though in fairness, 48 feet, eight inches is hardly close to anything. And we didn’t even make the

Direct to Consumer

We mentioned last week Apollo’s $1.8 billion financing for New Media Investment Group’s acquisition of Gannett & Co. It seemed like one of the largest non-bank buy-out deals ever. A banker friend of The Lead Left agreed: “You remember Ares’ Qlik deal in 2016.” she said. “That was a shock to the market when it

High-water Mark

We instinctively knew making “Smooth Sailing” our commentary title last week invited retribution from the market gods. No sooner had we hit the “Send” button to our 50,000 subscribers when the latest round of tariffs on China was launched. Having lived through countless market bumps, our editorial staff decided to press on regardless with our

Smooth Sailing

“How do you come up with all the ideas for your columns?” That’s a question we frequently hear from readers. Our answer is that we don’t have to come up with them. They present themselves all week, every week. We just watch and listen. Take this week. End of July often involves water-related activities. For

Private Debt: Search for Transparency (Last of a Series)

“There is no passive option in direct lending.” So begins “Selecting Direct Lending Managers,” Chapter 13 in Steve Nesbitt’s Private Debt: Opportunities in Corporate Direct Lending. This asset class is indeed available only through active management. As we’ve discussed in this series, the Cliffwater Direct Lending Index (CDLI) is an excellent proxy for middle market

Private Debt: Search for Transparency (Fourth of a Series)

Last week in our special series on visibility in direct lending, we touched on the element of risk/reward. This week we examine relative credit losses and liquidity of the asset class. The issue of private credit losses cuts to the heart of transparency. Since middle market borrowers are generally smaller, private, and unrated, and their

Private Debt: Search for Transparency (Third of a Series)

Coney Island was the scene last Thursday of Nathan’s Annual July Fourth hot dog eating contest. For the 12th time in 13 years the men’s champion was Joey “Jaws” Chestnut. He downed 71 franks and buns – not his personal best, but far ahead of the second-place finisher (50). The top woman, Miki Sudo (31),

Private Debt: Search for Transparency (Second of a Series)

With the July 4th holiday weekend looming, readers of last week’s column on shark tracking have asked how they can keep informed of Cabot’s progress. That particular denizen of the deep was last heard from about two weeks ago off the coast of Bar Harbor, Maine. You can follow him at ( We continue

Private Debt: Search for Transparency (First of a Series)

In all the excitement surrounding our just-ended special series on covenant-easing [link] we must have missed it. But several readers pointed out we had neglected to cover the highly unusual sighting last month of a great white shark in Long Island Sound. Cabot, a nine-foot, eight-inch, 533 lb. tagged fish had been tracked for months.