Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the rest of Wall Street are stuck with at least $11 billion of loans and bonds they can’t readily sell.
The banks have had to dig into their own pockets to finance parts of at least five leveraged buyouts over the past month because of the worst bear market in high-yield debt in more than two years, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Bankers, who just a few months ago boasted that demand for high-yield assets was so great that they would have no problem raising debt for a $100 billion LBO, are now paying for their overconfidence. The cost of tying up their own capital may curb earnings and stem the flood of LBOs, which generated a record $8.4 billion in fees during the first half of 2007, according to Brad Hintz, the former chief financial officer at New York-based Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.
As the market began to turn sour last month, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup Inc., Lehman and Wachovia Corp. had to buy $725 million of bonds that Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based Dollar General Corp. was selling to finance Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. purchase of the company for $6.9 billion. All of the securities firms are based in New York, except Wachovia, which is located in Charlotte, North Carolina.