With over 3,000 responses gathered for this year’s PDI Awards, it’s clear that private debt inspires strong views. For the full list of the winning firms, please click HERE for in-depth coverage of the awards.
PDI began the awards process last November by shortlisting names for the 37 categories across three broad regions; the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Selections by the editorial team were guided by our own market knowledge, many in-depth conversations with market experts and discussions with our editorial colleagues within PEI Media in our New York, London and Hong Kong offices.
We then published the shortlists on our website and threw the voting open to you, our readership.
There are highlights aplenty. Our lender of the year in the Americas was Golub Capital. By the end of 2014, Golub had lent $2 billion more than the year before, a huge increase with a commensurate boost in flexibility and deal size (which ranged from $15 million to $410 million). The firm also earned the title of unitranche lender of the year in the Americas.
GSO Capital Partners, long established in private credit, also did well, picking up both the junior and direct lender of the year. Its affiliate Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies (BREDS) was voted real estate debt manager of the year.
In Asia-Pacific, the financing for the ADT Korea buyout by Carlyle stood out. The deal, which was the largest mezzanine facility executed in Asia excluding Japan, was structured and executed in a way that gave Carlyle a clear edge over other bidders, the deal principals told PDI. Bullet repayment, higher leverage and having the facility underwritten and in place when the bid was submitted gave the private equity buyer the edge. For all these reasons, it is a deserving deal of the year.
Regional lender SSG Capital Management scooped two awards, fundraising of the year and distressed debt investor of the year, while Hong Kong-headquartered Adamas Asset Management landed the lender of the year award.
In Europe, the real estate finance market had a key year with funds carving out a niche for themselves. Starwood Capital Management was the winner in this tight category. The firm leverages its real asset experience to try and find the deals that other lenders can’t or won’t do.
ICG picked up two European awards, taking home both the senior and junior lender of the year titles for Europe, reflecting a bumper year of investment from the firm, which also celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2014.
This year we added a number of categories, including placement agent of the year and law firm of the year in Europe and the Americas. Keen to acknowledge the importance of the services and support these firms provide, numerous managers guided us towards their top picks in these categories. We also felt it was important to acknowledge the US Business Development Companies with a new category.
The team at PDI would like to congratulate the winners on their achievements, and also commend the runners-up. There were a lot of very close results throughout the voting, and with firms prevented from voting for themselves, each vote really counted as an acknowledgement of excellence by the market.