A New York Times article details troubles facing Apollo Group, the private equity firm that bought real estate giant Realogy Corp. in a heavily leveraged multi-billion-dollar buyout deal completed last year.
"The sagging economy and piles of debt … are causing several … companies that Apollo owns, including Harrah’s, Claire’s and (Realogy) to struggle — putting at risk about a third of some $10 billion (Apollo’s Leon) Black raised years ago during the buyout boom," the Times reports. Black said in the article that some Apollo companies are "cyclically challenged" and that his company has raised $20 billion in new money to capitalize on the market’s turbulence.
The article also notes that Apollo-owned Harrah’s and Realogy "are keeping up with some of their debt payments by issuing more debt to investors rather than paying them in cash — a maneuver made possible by agreements reached during the boom." Diane Vazza, head of global fixed-income research at Standard & Poor’s, comments on this strategy in the Times article: "What this does is buys them a little bit of time, but the day of reckoning is around the corner."
Realogy last month cited "credit and stock market turmoil" and the sinking economic climate in offering the debt exchange to lessen the risk of default on bank loans (see Inman News). The company reported $6.5 billion in total long-term debt as of Sept. 30, 2008.
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