Leveraged finance review: North America's demanding problem

Private equity fund managers have been keeping the investment banks busy so far in 2013 – though not as busy as most bankers would like. 

Bank of America Merrill Lynch generated the most activity in North America during the first four months of the year, financing 98 private equity-related transactions worth a combined $12.1 billion and claiming 7.4 percent of the market. Not far behind, however, were rivals JPMorgan and Credit Suisse, at 7.2 percent and 7.1 percent respectively. Barclays, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs each accounted for more than 5 percent of the lending market.

While leveraged finance is enjoying a renaissance of sorts thanks to a renewed level of confidence in the debt markets, new merger and acquisition activity was fairly muted during the first four months of the year, save for two proposed mega-deals: Silver Lake’s $24 billion take-private bid for PC manufacturer Dell – which included a reported $15 million debt load – and Berkshire Hathaway’s acquisition of Heinz for $28 billion alongside Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital, both agreed in February (although at press time the former was far from a done deal, thanks to Carl Icahn). 

Not including these two transactions, North American buyouts totalled just $11.8 billion between 1 January and 30 April, compared to $17.6 billion during the same period in 2012, according to Dealogic.