OREANDA-NEWS. Ares Capital Corporation (NASDAQ: ARCC) and American Capital, Ltd. (NASDAQ: ACAS) announced today that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Ares Capital will acquire American Capital, excluding American Capital Mortgage Management, LLC.  This transaction enhances Ares Capital's position as the leading business development company in the United States and a leading direct lender to middle market companies.  The combined company would have on a pro forma basis more than $13 billion of investments at fair value as of March 31, 2016. The Boards of Directors of both companies have unanimously approved the transaction.Under the terms of the Ares transaction, American Capital shareholders will receive approximately $3.43 billion in total cash and stock consideration or $14.95 per fully diluted share.  In a separate transaction, American Capital also announced today that it is selling American Capital Mortgage Management, LLC to American Capital Agency Corp. (NASDAQ: AGNC) for $562 million or $2.45 per fully diluted share.  Collectively, the transactions announced today represent  total value for American Capital shareholders of $4.0 billion or approximately $17.40 per fully diluted share, representing a premium of 11.4% to American Capital's closing price on May 20, 2016 and a premium of 21.6% to American Capital's unaffected closing price on November 13, 2015. 

American Capital shareholders will receive $1.470 billion in cash from Ares Capital, or $6.41 per share, plus 0.483 Ares Capital shares for each American Capital share, resulting in approximately 110.8 million Ares Capital shares, or $1.682 billion in value or $7.34 per share based on Ares Capital's closing stock price of $15.19 as of Friday, May 20, 2016, issued in exchange for approximately 229.3 million American Capital shares.  Following the transaction, Ares Capital shareholders are expected to own approximately 73.9% and American Capital shareholders are expected to own approximately 26.1% of the combined company. 

As part of the aggregate consideration, Ares Management, L.P. (NYSE: ARES) will provide financial support to the transaction.  Through its subsidiary, Ares Capital Management LLC, which serves as the investment adviser to Ares Capital, Ares Management will provide $275 million of cash, or $1.20 per fully diluted share, to American Capital shareholders at closing.  In addition, Ares Management has agreed to waive up to $100 million in Part I income based fees (ARCC Income Based Fees) payable for the ten calendar quarters beginning the first full quarter following the closing of the transaction, in an amount of up to $10 million of ARCC Income Based Fees to the extent earned and payable to Ares Capital Management in such quarter, to support the expected profitability of the combined company during the integration and portfolio repositioning period for the two businesses.

The combined company will remain externally managed by Ares Capital Management LLC and all current Ares Capital officers and directors will remain in their current roles. 

Ares Capital believes that the significant size and scale of the combined company will create many strategic and financial benefits and will position the combined company to capitalize on favorable market conditions.  Including the financial support provided by Ares Management, it is anticipated that the combination will:

  • Be immediately accretive to core earnings per share, with the potential for increased dividends over time
  • Be accretive to net asset value per share between the first and second full years after closing and beyond
  • Accelerate the expected growth and deployment of Ares Capital's Senior Direct Lending Program joint venture
  • Expand Ares Capital's ability to originate larger transactions with increased final hold positions, enhancing its market presence and value proposition with financial sponsors and borrowers
  • Capture increased underwriting and distribution fees from greater syndication opportunities
  • Further diversify Ares Capital's balance sheet and enhance access to lower cost capital from banks and capital markets participants

"The growing demand for capital from middle market borrowers has created the need for flexible capital providers like us to fill the financing gap as banks continue to retrench from the market," commented Michael Arougheti, Co-Chairman of Ares Capital's Board of Directors.  "We believe this transaction materially enhances our presence as a market leading direct lender with the size and scale to capitalize on the attractive competitive dynamics in the market today and for the foreseeable future."

"Similar to the strategy we successfully utilized in our acquisition of Allied Capital in 2010, we plan to leverage our robust origination platform to redeploy American Capital's portfolio into directly-originated investments generating a higher level of current income and ultimately improved risk-adjusted returns," said Kipp deVeer, Chief Executive Officer of Ares Capital.  "We are confident in our ability to maximize long-term value for both Ares Capital and American Capital shareholders."

"We are excited to have entered into this mutually beneficial combination with Ares Capital," commented Malon Wilkus, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Capital.  "Our shareholders should benefit immediately from the stable dividend offered by Ares Capital and the fee waiver support provided by Ares Management.  Moreover, we expect the combined company to have a more diversified portfolio and a stronger balance sheet that will position it well for future growth."

Prior to closing, American Capital may continue its plans to monetize certain investments (in collaboration with Ares Capital) and the proceeds of any such sales would be used to retire indebtedness or to remain in cash balances as the company has ceased its stock repurchase program.  Since March 31, 2016, American Capital has announced sales of over $550 million in balance sheet investments. 

Elliott Management, holder of a 14.4% interest in American Capital, strongly supports the transactions and will vote its shares in favor at the upcoming Special Meeting. Portfolio Managers Jesse Cohn and Pat Frayne said in a statement, "We are pleased with the result of the Strategic Review and thank the Independent Board Committee of ACAS for its hard work and success in delivering an excellent outcome for shareholders. We believe this transaction represents the best path forward for ACAS shareholders and creates a tremendous opportunity for value creation as shareholders of Ares Capital after the deal is completed. ACAS's streamlined portfolio will benefit from management by an Ares team that has a stellar track record of delivering shareholder value." 

Consummation of Ares Capital's acquisition of American Capital is subject to American Capital and Ares Capital shareholder approvals, customary regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.  The transaction is also conditioned on the successful completion of the sale of American Capital Mortgage Management, LLC to American Capital Agency Corp.American Capital Mortgage Management, LLC is the external advisor to American Capital Agency Corp. (NASDAQ: AGNC) and American Capital Mortgage Investment Corp. (Nasdaq: MTGE). Assuming satisfaction of these conditions, the transaction is expected to close within the next 12 months. However, there is no guarantee that the sale of American Capital Mortgage Management, LLC or other asset sales described in this release will be completed and/or that the other conditions to this transaction will be satisfied.    

Wells Fargo Securities, LLC and Bank of America Merrill Lynch served as financial advisors to Ares Capital.  Latham & Watkins LLP and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP served as legal counsel to Ares Capital. Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP served as legal counsel to the independent directors of Ares Capital. Proskauer Rose LLP acted as legal counsel to Ares Management.  Goldman Sachs & Co. and Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC served as financial advisors to American Capital.  Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP served as legal counsel to American Capital. 

About Ares Capital Corporation
Ares Capital is a leading specialty finance company that provides one-stop debt and equity financing solutions to U.S. middle market companies, venture capital backed businesses and power generation projects. Ares Capital originates and invests in senior secured loans, mezzanine debt and, to a lesser extent, equity investments through its national direct origination platform. Ares Capital's investment objective is to generate both current income and capital appreciation through debt and equity investments primarily in private companies. Ares Capital has elected to be regulated as a business development company ("BDC") and as of March 31, 2016, was the largest BDC by total assets and market capitalization. Ares Capital is externally managed by Ares Capital Management LLC, a subsidiary of Ares Management., L.P. (NYSE: ARES). 

About Ares Management, L.P.
Ares Management, L.P. is a publicly traded, leading global alternative asset manager with approximately $94 billion of assets under management as of March 31, 2016 and more than 15 offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. Since its inception in 1997, Ares has adhered to a disciplined investment philosophy that focuses on delivering strong risk-adjusted investment returns throughout market cycles. Ares believes each of its three distinct but complementary investment groups in Credit, Private Equity and Real Estate is a market leader based on assets under management and investment performance. Ares was built upon the fundamental principle that each group benefits from being part of the greater whole. 

About American Capital, Ltd.
American Capital, Ltd. is a publicly traded private equity firm and global asset manager.  American Capital, both directly and through its asset management business, originates, underwrites and manages investments in middle market private equity, leveraged finance, real estate and structured products.  As of March 31, 2016, American Capital managed approximately $20 billion of assets, including assets on its balance sheet and fee earning assets under management by affiliated managers, with $77 billion of total assets under management (including levered assets).  Through a wholly owned affiliate, American Capital manages publicly traded American Capital Agency Corp. (NASDAQ: AGNC), American Capital Mortgage Investment Corp. (NASDAQ: MTGE) and American Capital Senior Floating, Ltd. (NASDAQ: ACSF) with approximately $10 billion of total net book value.  American Capital and its affiliates operate out of six offices in the U.S. and Europe.