Private-equity capital calls; payments winners and losers; the future of flex office

Welcome to Wall Street Insider, where we take you behind the scenes of the finance team’s biggest scoops and deep dives from the past week.

If you aren’t yet a subscriber to Wall Street Insider, you can sign up here.

Private-equity firms are racing to help portfolio companies in vulnerable industries, and as Casey Sullivan reports, LPs have seen a surge in capital calls. PE shops are also talking through alternative exit strategies and doing daily check-ins to examine financial performance in real time.

Read the full story here:

Private-equity firms are scrambling to save portfolio companies by calling in money from investors and rewriting worst-case scenarios

Bets on getting people out of the house and into places like theme parks and restaurants have been slammed by the coronavirus. Casey and Alex Morrell took a look at the Apollo-owned parent company of Chuck E. Cheese, which had gone on a spending spree to remodel restaurants before the pandemic took hold.

Meanwhile, Blackstone reported that the value of its PE funds plunged nearly 22% in the first quarter, with a big hit from energy investments. But CEO Stephen Schwarzman also noted that some investors are holding remote due-diligence meetings and forging on with capital commitments.

“We had one fund that was supposed to be having a big due-diligence meeting with, I think it was over 130 or 150 different attendees, and it was just done on Zoom,” Schwarzman told analysts. “And much like the rest of the way we’re all working, everybody was pretty adjusted and cool about that.”

Read on for a look at a surge in all-to-all bond trading, a deep dive on the future of flex-office companies, and to hear what VCs are saying about winners and losers in the payments space.

Thanks for tuning in,


Filet at $US2 a pound

Hedge fund trader

As volatility rocked credit markets in March and traditional dealers stepped away, electronic trading platforms saw record volumes. All-to-all, an anonymous form of trading in which trades are sent out to the entire market – not just dealers – in particular enjoyed a surge in activity.

As Dan DeFrancesco reports, investment firms with cash on hand were able to buy up high-quality bonds at far cheaper prices thanks to all-to-all trading. “I was getting filet at $US2 a pound,” Steve Chylinski, head of fixed-income trading at Eagle Asset Management, told Business Insider.

Read the full story here:

As credit liquidity evaporated, some investors pounced on a bond fire-sale with the help of electronic trading platforms. Insiders explain how a wild 2 weeks unfolded.

Some payments startups are set to thrive

Online shopping

Shannen Balogh asked top investors to share which payments players they think are best positioned to come out strong on the other side of the coronavirus crisis, which has upended customer spending behaviour and sparked a surge in ecommerce.

Some are betting on B2B players that enable small businesses to compete with the likes of Amazon, while others think that companies with strong point-of-sale tech will see a wave of new customers as merchants shift digital.

Read the full story here:

4 top VCs from firms like Bain and Andreessen Horowitz lay out winners and losers as the coronavirus transforms how we shop and pay

A day of reckoning for flex space

Coworking space

As Meghan Morris and Alex Nicoll report, the flex-space industry is facing a short-term crunch as employees fear returning to dense floors and small businesses that relied on these spaces cut headcount.

But in the long term, 10 real-estate experts, from employers to landlords, said they expect flexible offices to be an even more critical component of real estate as companies hesitate to lock in long-term leases and rethink their real estate footprints – but warned that not every provider will survive.

Read the full story here:

The coronavirus is like a ‘nuclear bomb’ for companies like WeWork. 10 real-estate insiders lay out the future of flex-office, and how employers are preparing now.

Inside Hudson Yards as the coronavirus slams retail

Neiman marcus hudson yards

To persuade Neiman Marcus to anchor the 1-million-square-foot mega-mall at the heart of the $US25 billion Hudson Yards development on Manhattan’s West Side, the project’s builders lavished tens of millions of dollars on the upscale department store and postponed reaping profits on the space for years.

Now, Neiman Marcus is eyeing filing for bankruptcy in the coming days, according to multiple media reports. Dan Geiger explains how Related and Oxford, two of the city’s most ambitious developers, are facing the prospect of a potential renegotiation where they may have little choice but to offer Neiman Marcus even more favourable terms.

Read the full story here:

A Neiman Marcus bankruptcy could mark a major blow to NYC’s glitzy Hudson Yards, one of the most expensive mega-malls in US history. Here’s why.

Bracing for the next round of PPP loans


Alex Morrell, Dominick Reuter, Jennifer Ortakales, and Rebecca Ungarino teamed up to take a look at how big banks decided the futures of America’s small businesses.

Here’s the inside story of how $US349 billion in government cash was doled out in just 12 days, leaving thousands of entrepreneurs without relief.

And for a glimpse at what’s to come next week, a leaked memo shows Bank of America’s talking points for staffers on how to handle the next round of PPP loans- and warns that funds likely won’t meet “extreme need and demand.”



Hedge funds and investing

Real estate