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M&A Financing Hits Logjam as Lenders Await Action From Washington

July 05, 2017, 08:30 AM
Filed Under: Economic Commentary

U.S. syndicated lending activity reached a record $632 billion in the second quarter, an increase of 2% from the prior record set in the second quarter of last year, according to data published by Thomson Reuters.

However, new lending to support mergers and acquisition was only $119 billion for the quarter, a slowdown that lenders attributed to a lack of clarity in policies coming out of the Trump administration -- including on the issues of healthcare, trade policy and tax reform. 

"M&A is slow and there is not a lot of visibility. We noted how slow the first quarter was and we saw an uptick this quarter and a relatively big number for Amazon," one arranger told Reuters. "The conversations are going on for sure, there is just so much uncertainty around policy here. It is pretty important for a lot of companies when they are thinking about major strategic transactions. Everything keeps getting pushed out."

Others are optimistic that M&A activity will pick up as the Trump administration makes headway on domestic and international policy promises.

"The second half should be more of the same in terms of volume, but the composition could change to a lower percentage of refinancing and more M&A, assuming things normalize a bit," Art de Pena, managing director and head of distribution, trading and agency at MUFG’s syndications group, told Reuters. “That will be a function of, hopefully, political stability, that will help to spur M&A and economic growth,” he said.

Click here to read the report in its entirety.

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