The Sell Side (A Continuing Series)

by Johnny Debacle

A colleague of mine was talking with the analyst of SellSide Bank who was syndicating a deal that we were taking a look at. The deal was brutal: It was a sub-$50mm EBITDA company that would have negative free cash flow in the short to intermediate term. We were being sold debt in their capital structure and the security would had limited exposure, at best, to any future upside of the company.

Faced with such a profile, poor ratings from S&P and Moody’s, and a meager coupon considering the risk profile, what is a poor sell side analyst to do?

“Yeah I know, it’s a tough profile. But let me tell you this. Give us 18 months, 18 months and we will take you home.”

That’s the sell side, baby.

We will take you home. I can just see an investor asking an analyst “Why did you buy that debt that traded down to 20 cents?” Well, SellSide Bank wouldn’t have underwritten the deal unless they thorougly vetted it right? And the analyst told me he would take me home. “What about all the cash burn?” SellSide Bank put me at ease. Home is safe, I like home.

That’s the sell side, baby.

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