Cheap Debt Fuels Private Equity Revival –

The divergent approaches highlight how cheap corporate debt is fueling the recovery of the private equity business. While it remains difficult to get a mortgage to buy a home or to get a loan to fund a small business, yield-starved investors are creating a robust market for corporate bonds and loans.

Private equity firms are seizing upon the corporate-debt boom in myriad ways. For the debt-heavy companies they already own, Blackstone and Carlyle are improving their balance sheets through aggressive refinancing. Corporate loans are now available to do multibillion-dollar buyouts, too, but the easy lending environment has created fierce competition for takeover targets, driving up prices. The corporate loan market “is almost hard to believe,” Mr. James of Blackstone said.

Private equity’s outlook is certainly brighter today than it was one year ago. Buyout firms have made $173 billion worth of deals so far this year, up 95 percent from last year, according to data from Thomson Reuters.


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