Buy-side financing has become increasingly complex, with direct lending dominating middle-market leveraged buyouts and acquisitions. New lenders and strategies have emerged, while investment committees have become fickle and are frequently deterred by complex credit stories. Further, incumbent lenders may lack the appetite for the capital that is required.

In this challenging environment, financial sponsors looking to bolster bids with multiple financing proposals and increase execution certainty could be well-served to work with an outside debt advisor. Doing so can also free up deal teams to focus on their investment theses, due diligence, and value-creation strategies.

William Blair’s Leveraged Finance team regularly helps clients navigate these challenges, finding partners who can provide the capital to achieve successful M&A outcomes.

Video Transcript

Over the past couple of years, direct lending has become the dominant financing mechanism for middle-market LBOs and acquisitions. However, with a constantly evolving landscape, buy-side financing has become more and more complex. New lenders and strategies are emerging, and many existing players have changed their investment profiles. At the same time, investment committees have become fickle, and are frequently deterred by complex credit stories that involve issues such as cyclicality, customer concentration, or capex requirements. Incumbent or “relationship” lenders may also be tapped out—or lack the appetite for the capital that is required.

As an independent debt advisor, William Blair is adept at navigating this landscape to deliver an optimal financing solution to support your acquisition. William Blair creates tailor-made processes for each transaction that are designed to address the client’s specific objectives while fitting within the sell-side’s timeline. Our team of highly experienced leveraged finance bankers manages all aspects of the financing process, including credit positioning, distribution strategy, marketing, lender due diligence, and term sheet and credit agreement negotiations. Outsourcing the financing process frees the client’s deal team to focus on their own investment thesis, due diligence, and value-creation strategies—the main drivers of investment returns and what limited partners care about most.

William Blair’s Leveraged Finance team is also able to deliver the best possible structure and terms by putting a wide range of lenders through a highly competitive process and pushing them to be as aggressive as possible in the areas that are most important to the client. Additionally, our team can reduce execution risk for the client’s M&A transaction by bolstering bids with multiple financing proposals.

At William Blair, this process can work holistically alongside our buy-side M&A advisory services or as a standalone debt advisory service. William Blair’s Leveraged Finance team is comprised of highly experienced bankers that are exclusively focused on debt advisory. We maintain a vast network of more than 500 lender relationships, allowing us to tailor the best distribution strategy for each transaction. The Leveraged Finance team also works exclusively on a success-fee basis, so we only get paid if there is a successful outcome for the client. Big picture, working with William Blair as your debt advisor means finding a capital partner who is the right fit for the business’ current and future needs.