Orrick launches Internet portal for direct lenders – exclusive

The new webpage can help financial firms draw up term sheets and create teaser letters.

Orrick has created a new platform that the San Francisco-based law firm hopes will make life easier for direct lenders, something it bills as the first such legal portal designed to help alternative lenders.

The webpage , part of Orrick's website, aims to help financial firms in every step of the process, including from generating engagement letters, drawing up a term sheet and providing a checklist for closing the deal. It also includes a function, labelled the deemed dividend analyzer, that can determine how much credit a borrower's affiliate can support under US tax law.

“We've been working with a lot of direct lenders for years,” B.J. Rosen, an Orrick partner and global co-head of the firm's direct and specialty lending practice, told PDI. “They kept on running into the same issues over and over. If there was one repository to fix all those problems it would be beneficial not only for our clients but the market as whole.

Rosen added the firm hopes financial firms are able to use the new platform in a way that lowers their stress levels. He said the firm plans to leave it accessible for the whole market, as opposed to selling subscriptions for the product. 

“We'd like [the portal] to have the effect of making it easier for lenders to do the parts of the deal that don't have to be hard but currently are,” Rosen explained, naming early-stage documentation as one part of deal-making that could be much easier. He added Orrick launched the portal because “the need for a product like this has been growing with” the market.

The platform launch comes amid a strong appetite for direct lending investments. Guggenheim and Ares are both in the market with direct lending vehicles, with the former seeking $2 billion and the l atter looking for $2.5 billion . European investment vehicles have also been in market too; Hermes Investment Management has launched a £750 million (€880.3 million $987.6 million) fund.