10-K 1 tslx-10k_20171231.htm 10-K tslx-10k_20171231.htm

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017

or

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Commission file number 001-36364

 

TPG Specialty Lending, Inc.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

 

Delaware

27-3380000

(State or Other Jurisdiction of

Incorporation or Organization)

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

 

 

301 Commerce Street, Suite 3300,

Fort Worth, TX

76102

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

(Zip Code)

Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code: (817) 871-4000

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share

The New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

None

(Title of class)

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    YES      NO  

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    YES      NO  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    YES      NO  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    YES      NO  

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

Non-Accelerated filer

  (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)

Smaller reporting company

 

 

Emerging growth company

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).    YES      NO  

The aggregate market value of the voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant on June 30, 2017, based on the closing price on that date of $20.45 on The New York Stock Exchange, was approximately $1,167,698,099. The number of shares of the registrant’s common stock, $.01 par value per share, outstanding at February 20, 2018 was 60,400,496.

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the Registrant’s proxy statement for the 2018 annual meeting of stockholders are incorporated by reference in Part III.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

TPG SPECIALTY LENDING, INC.

Index to Annual Report on Form 10-K for

Year Ended December 31, 2017

 

 

 

 

PAGE

PART I

  

 

 

ITEM 1.

 

Business

4

ITEM 1A.

 

Risk Factors

29

ITEM 1B.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

52

ITEM 2.

 

Properties

52

ITEM 3.

 

Legal Proceedings

52

ITEM 4.

 

Mine Safety Disclosures

52

 

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

 

ITEM 5.

 

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

53

ITEM 6.

 

Selected Financial Data

55

ITEM 7.

 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

57

ITEM 7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

80

ITEM 8.

 

Consolidated Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

F-1

ITEM 9.

 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

82

ITEM 9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

82

ITEM 9B.

 

Other Information

82

 

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

 

ITEM 10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

83

ITEM 11.

 

Executive Compensation

83

ITEM 12.

 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

83

ITEM 13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

83

ITEM 14.

 

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

83

 

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

 

ITEM 15.

 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

84

ITEM 16.

 

Form 10-K Summary

86

 

 

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CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This report contains forward-looking statements that involve substantial risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements are not historical facts, but rather are based on current expectations, estimates and projections about us, our current and prospective portfolio investments, our industry, our beliefs, and our assumptions. Words such as “anticipates,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “seeks,” “estimates,” “would,” “should,” “targets,” “projects,” and variations of these words and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties, and other factors, some of which are beyond our control and difficult to predict, that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or forecasted in the forward-looking statements.

In addition to factors previously identified elsewhere in the reports and other documents TPG Specialty Lending, Inc. has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, the following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ materially from forward-looking statements or historical performance:

 

an economic downturn could impair our portfolio companies’ abilities to continue to operate, which could lead to the loss of some or all of our investments in those portfolio companies;

 

such an economic downturn could disproportionately impact the companies in which we have invested and others that we intend to target for investment, potentially causing us to experience a decrease in investment opportunities and diminished demand for capital from these companies;

 

such an economic downturn could also impact availability and pricing of our financing;

 

an inability to access the capital markets could impair our ability to raise capital and our investment activities; and

 

the risks, uncertainties and other factors we identify in the section entitled “Risk Factors” in this report and elsewhere in our filings with the SEC.

Although we believe that the assumptions on which these forward-looking statements are based are reasonable, some of those assumptions are based on the work of third parties and any of those assumptions could prove to be inaccurate; as a result, forward-looking statements based on those assumptions also could prove to be inaccurate. In light of these and other uncertainties, the inclusion of a projection or forward-looking statement in this report should not be regarded as a representation by us that our plans and objectives will be achieved. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which apply only as of the date of this report. We do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements or any other information contained herein, except as required by applicable law. The safe harbor provisions of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, which preclude civil liability for certain forward-looking statements, do not apply to the forward-looking statements in this report because we are an investment company.

 

 

 

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PART I

In this Annual Report, except where the context suggests otherwise, the terms “TSL,” “TSLX,” “we,” “us,” “our,” and “the Company” refer to TPG Specialty Lending, Inc. The term “Adviser” refers to TSL Advisers, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company. The term “TSSP” refers to TPG Sixth Street Partners. The term “TPG” refers to TPG Global, LLC and its affiliates.

 

 

ITEM 1. BUSINESS

General

Our Company

We are a specialty finance company focused on lending to middle-market companies. Since we began our investment activities in July 2011, through December 31, 2017, we have originated more than $7.3 billion aggregate principal amount of investments and retained approximately $4.4 billion aggregate principal amount of these investments on our balance sheet prior to any subsequent exits and repayments. We seek to generate current income primarily in U.S.-domiciled middle-market companies through direct originations of senior secured loans and, to a lesser extent, originations of mezzanine and unsecured loans and investments in corporate bonds and equity securities. By “middle-market companies,” we mean companies that have annual earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, which we believe is a useful proxy for cash flow, of $10 million to $250 million, although we may invest in larger or smaller companies on occasion. As of December 31, 2017, our core portfolio companies, which exclude certain investments that fall outside of our typical borrower profile and represent 83.2% of our total investments based on fair value, had weighted average annual revenue of $130.3 million and weighted average annual EBITDA of $25.1 million.

We generate revenues primarily in the form of interest income from the investments we hold. In addition, we generate income from dividends on direct equity investments, capital gains on the sale of investments and various loan origination and other fees.

We have operated as a business development company, or a BDC, since we began our investment activities in July 2011, and we are currently one of the largest publicly listed BDCs by total assets. In conducting our investment activities, we believe that we benefit from the significant scale and resources of our Adviser and its affiliates.

The companies in which we invest use our capital to support organic growth, acquisitions, market or product expansion and recapitalizations (including restructurings). We invest in first-lien debt, second-lien debt, mezzanine and unsecured debt and equity and other investments. Our first-lien debt may include stand-alone first-lien loans; “last out” first-lien loans, which are loans that have a secondary priority behind super-senior “first out” first-lien loans; “unitranche” loans, which are loans that combine features of first-lien, second-lien and mezzanine debt, generally in a first-lien position; and secured corporate bonds with similar features to these categories of first-lien loans. Our second-lien debt may include secured loans, and, to a lesser extent, secured corporate bonds, with a secondary priority behind first-lien debt. As of December 31, 2017, based on fair value our portfolio consisted of 93.4% first-lien debt investments, 3.6% second-lien debt investments, and 3.0% equity and other investments. All of our debt investments based on fair value as of December 31, 2017 bore interest at floating rates (when including investment specific hedges), with 93.3% of these subject to interest rate floors, which we believe helps act as a portfolio-wide hedge against inflation. As of December 31, 2017 we had investments in 45 portfolio companies, with an average investment size of approximately $37.6 million based on fair value. As of December 31, 2017, the largest single investment based on fair value represented 6.7% of our total investment portfolio.

As of December 31, 2017, our portfolio was invested across 17 different industries. The largest industries in our portfolio as of December 31, 2017 were financial services and business services, which represented, as a percentage of our portfolio, 14.0%, and 13.8%, respectively, based on fair value.

We are an externally managed, closed-end, non-diversified management investment company that has elected to be regulated as a BDC under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, or the 1940 Act. In addition, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we have elected to be treated as a regulated investment company, or RIC, under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, which we refer to as the Code. Because we elected to be a BDC and have elected to be treated as a RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes, our portfolio is and will continue to be subject to diversification and other requirements to maintain such status elections.

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We borrow money from time to time within the levels permitted by the 1940 Act to fund investments and for general corporate purposes. Under the 1940 Act, we can incur borrowings, issue debt securities or issue preferred stock if immediately after the borrowing or issuance the ratio of total assets (less total liabilities other than indebtedness) to total indebtedness plus preferred stock is at least 200%. In determining whether to borrow money, we analyze the maturity, covenant package and rate structure of the proposed borrowings, as well as the risks of those borrowings compared to our investment outlook. The use of borrowed funds or the proceeds of preferred stock offerings to make investments has its own specific set of benefits and risks, and all of the costs of borrowing funds or issuing preferred stock are borne by us, and ultimately the holders of our common stock. See “ITEM 1A. Risk FactorsRisks Related to Our Business and Structure—We borrow money, which magnifies the potential for gain or loss and increases the risk of investing in us.”

Our operations comprise only a single reportable segment.

Relationship with our Adviser, TSSP and TPG

Our Adviser is a Delaware limited liability company. Our Adviser acts as our investment adviser and administrator, and is a registered investment adviser with the SEC under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended, or the Advisers Act. Our Adviser sources and manages our portfolio through our Investment Team, a dedicated team of investment professionals predominately focused on us. Our Investment Team is led by our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and our Adviser’s Co-Chief Investment Officer Joshua Easterly and our Adviser’s Co-Chief Investment Officer Alan Waxman, both of whom have substantial experience in credit origination, underwriting and asset management. Our investment decisions are made by our Investment Review Committee, which includes senior personnel of our Adviser and TPG Sixth Street Partners, LLC, or “TSSP”.

TSSP, with approximately $20 billion of assets under management as of September 30, 2017, is TPG’s special situations and credit platform and encompasses TPG Specialty Lending, TPG Opportunities Partners and TSSP Adjacent Opportunities Partners, which invest in special situations and distressed investments across the credit cycle, TSL Europe, which is aimed at European middle-market loan originations, and TPG Institutional Credit Partners, which is a “public-side” credit investment platform focused on investment opportunities in broadly syndicated leveraged loan markets. TSSP has extensive experience with highly complex, global public and private investments executed through primary originations, secondary market purchases and restructurings, and has a team of over 180 investment and operating professionals. As of December 31, 2017, thirty one (31) of these personnel are dedicated to our business, including twenty four (24) investment professionals.

TPG is a leading global private investment firm founded in 1992 with over $79 billion of assets under management as of September 30, 2017, and offices in San Francisco, Fort Worth, New York and throughout the world. In addition to TSSP, TPG’s investment business includes discrete investment platforms focused on a range of alternative investment products, including TPG Capital, which is TPG’s flagship large capitalization private equity business and focuses on global investments across all major industry sectors; TPG Growth, which invests in small- and middle-market growth equity and corporate opportunities in all major industry sectors in North America and in other developed and emerging markets; TPG Biotechnology Partners, which invests in early- and late-stage venture capital opportunities in the biotechnology and related life sciences industries; and TPG Real Estate, which is the real estate platform of TPG. TPG has extensive experience with global public and private investments executed through leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations, spinouts, growth investments, joint ventures and restructurings, and has a team of over 390 deal professionals. 

Our Adviser consults with TSSP and TPG in connection with a substantial number of our investments. The TSSP and TPG platforms provide us with a breadth of large and scalable investment resources. We believe we benefit from their market expertise, insights into sector and macroeconomic trends and intensive due diligence capabilities, which help us discern market conditions that vary across industries and credit cycles, identify favorable investment opportunities and manage our portfolio of investments. TSSP and TPG will refer all middle-market loan origination activities for companies domiciled in the United States to us and conduct those activities through us. The Adviser will determine whether it would be permissible, advisable or otherwise appropriate for us to pursue a particular investment opportunity allocated to us by TSSP and TPG.

On December 16, 2014, we were granted an exemptive order from the SEC that allows us to co-invest, subject to certain conditions and to the extent the size of an investment opportunity exceeds the amount our Adviser has independently determined is appropriate for us to invest, with affiliates of TSSP and TPG in middle-market loan origination activities for companies domiciled in the United States and certain “follow-on” investments in companies in which we have already co-invested pursuant to the order and remain invested.

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We believe our ability to co-invest with TSSP and TPG affiliates is particularly useful where we identify larger capital commitments than otherwise would be appropriate for us. We expect that with the ability to co-invest with TSSP and TPG affiliates we will continue to be able to provide “one-stop” financing to a potential portfolio company in these circumstances, which may allow us to capture opportunities where we alone could not commit the full amount of required capital or would have to spend additional time to locate unaffiliated co-investors. See "Regulation as a Business Development - Company Transactions with our affiliates.”

The Adviser is responsible for managing our day-to-day business affairs, including implementing investment policies and strategic initiatives set by our Investment Team and managing our portfolio under the general oversight of our Investment Review Committee.

On April 15, 2011, we entered into the Investment Advisory Agreement with our Adviser. The Investment Advisory Agreement was subsequently amended on December 12, 2011. Under the Investment Advisory Agreement, the Adviser provides investment advisory services to us.

The Adviser’s services under the Investment Advisory Agreement are not exclusive, and the Adviser is free to furnish similar or other services to others so long as its services to us are not impaired. Under the terms of the Investment Advisory Agreement, we pay the Adviser the Management Fee and the Incentive Fee. For a discussion of the Management Fee and Incentive Fee payable by us to the Adviser, see “Management Agreements—Investment Advisory Agreement; Administration Agreement; License Agreement.” Our Board monitors the mix and performance of our investments over time and seeks to satisfy itself that the Adviser is acting in our interests and that our fee structure appropriately incentivizes the Adviser to do so.

In November 2017, our Board renewed the Investment Advisory Agreement. Unless earlier terminated, the Investment Advisory Agreement will remain in effect until November 2018, and may be extended subject to required approvals.

Investment Criteria/Guidelines

Investment Decision Process

Our investment approach involves, among other things:

 

an assessment of the markets, overall macroeconomic environment and how the assessment may impact industry and investment selection;

 

substantial company-specific research and analysis; and

 

with respect to each individual company, an emphasis on capital preservation, low volatility and management of downside risk.

The foundation of our investment philosophy incorporates intensive analysis, a management discipline based on both market technicals and fundamental value-oriented research, and consideration of diversification within our portfolio. We follow a rigorous investment process based on:

 

a comprehensive analysis of issuer creditworthiness, including a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the issuer’s business;

 

an evaluation of management and its economic incentives;

 

an analysis of business strategy and industry trends; and

 

an in-depth examination of a prospective portfolio company’s capital structure, financial results and projections.

We seek to identify those companies exhibiting superior fundamental risk-reward profiles and strong defensible business franchises, while focusing on the absolute and relative value of the investment.

Investment Process Overview

Origination and Sourcing

The substantial majority of our investments are not intermediated and are originated without the assistance of investment banks or other traditional Wall Street sources. In addition to executing direct calling campaigns on companies based on the Adviser’s sector and macroeconomic views, our Investment Team also maintains direct contact with financial sponsors, banks, corporate advisory firms, industry consultants, attorneys, investment banks, “club” investors and other potential sources of investment opportunities. The substantial majority of our deals are informed by our current sector views and are sourced directly by our Adviser through our network contacts. We also identify opportunities through our Adviser’s relationships with TSSP and TPG.

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Due Diligence Process

The process through which an investment decision is made involves extensive research into the company, its industry, its growth prospects and its ability to withstand adverse conditions. If the investment team responsible for the transaction determines that an investment opportunity should be pursued, we will engage in an intensive due diligence process. Though each transaction will involve a somewhat different approach, our diligence of each opportunity may include:

 

understanding the purpose of the capital requirement, the key personnel and variables, as well as the sources and uses of the proceeds;

 

meeting the company’s management, including top and middle-level executives, to get an insider’s view of the business, and to probe for potential weaknesses in business prospects;

 

checking management’s backgrounds and references;

 

performing a detailed review of historical financial performance, including performance through various economic cycles, and the quality of earnings;

 

contacting customers and vendors to assess both business prospects and standard practices;

 

conducting a competitive analysis, and comparing the company to its main competitors on an operating, financial, market share and valuation basis;

 

researching the industry for historic growth trends and future prospects as well as to identify future exit alternatives;

 

assessing asset value and the ability of physical infrastructure and information systems to handle anticipated growth;

 

leveraging TSSP and TPG internal resources with institutional knowledge of the company’s business; and

 

investigating legal and regulatory risks and financial and accounting systems and practices.

Selective Investment Process

After an investment has been identified and preliminary diligence has been completed, a credit research and analysis report is prepared. This report is reviewed by senior investment professionals. If these senior and other investment professionals are supportive of pursuing the potential investment, then a more extensive due diligence process is employed. Additional due diligence with respect to any investment may be conducted on our behalf by attorneys, independent accountants, and other third-party consultants and research firms prior to the closing of the investment, as appropriate, on a case-by-case basis.

Issuance of Formal Commitment

Approval of an investment requires the approval of the Investment Review Committee or, depending on the size and nature of the investment, a portion thereof. Once we have determined that a prospective portfolio company is suitable for investment, we work with the management or sponsor of that company and its other capital providers, including senior, junior and equity capital providers, if any, to finalize the structure and terms of the investment.

Portfolio Monitoring

The Adviser monitors our portfolio companies on an ongoing basis. The Adviser monitors the financial trends of each portfolio company to determine if it is meeting its business plans and to assess the appropriate course of action for each company.

The Adviser has a number of methods of evaluating and monitoring the performance and fair value of our investments, which may include the following:

 

assessment of success of the portfolio company in adhering to its business plan and compliance with covenants;

 

periodic and regular contact with portfolio company management and, if appropriate, the financial or strategic sponsor, to discuss financial position, requirements and accomplishments;

 

comparisons to other companies in the industry;

 

attendance at, and participation in, board meetings; and

 

review of monthly and quarterly financial statements and financial projections for portfolio companies.

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As part of the monitoring process, the Adviser regularly assesses the risk profile of each of our investments and, on a quarterly basis, grades each investment on a risk scale of 1 to 5. Risk assessment is not standardized in our industry and our risk assessment may not be comparable to ones used by our competitors. Our assessment is based on the following categories:

 

An investment is rated 1 if, in the opinion of the Adviser, it is performing as agreed and there are no concerns about the portfolio company’s performance or ability to meet covenant requirements. For these investments, the Adviser generally prepares monthly reports on investment performance and intensive quarterly asset reviews.

 

An investment is rated 2 if it is performing as agreed, but, in the opinion of the Adviser, there may be concerns about the company’s operating performance or trends in the industry. For these investments, in addition to monthly reports and quarterly asset reviews, the Adviser also researches any areas of concern with the objective of early intervention with the portfolio company.

 

An investment will be assigned a rating of 3 if it is paying as agreed but a material covenant violation is expected. For these investments, in addition to monthly reports and quarterly asset reviews, the Adviser also adds the investment to its “watch list” and researches any areas of concern with the objective of early intervention with the portfolio company.

 

An investment will be assigned a rating of 4 if a material covenant has been violated, but the company is making its scheduled payments. For these investments, the Adviser prepares a bi-monthly asset review email and generally has monthly meetings with senior management. For investments where there have been material defaults, including bankruptcy filings, failures to achieve financial performance requirements or failure to maintain liquidity or loan-to-value requirements, the Adviser often will take immediate action to protect its position. These remedies may include negotiating for additional collateral, modifying investment terms or structure, or payment of amendment and waiver fees.

 

A rating of 5 indicates an investment is in default on its interest or principal payments. For these investments, our Adviser reviews the investment on a bi-monthly basis and, where possible, pursues workouts that achieve an early resolution to avoid further deterioration. The Adviser retains legal counsel and takes actions to preserve our rights, which may include working with the portfolio company to have the default cured, to have the investment restructured or to have the investment repaid through a consensual workout.

For more information on the investment performance ratings of our portfolio, see “ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS—Portfolio and Investment Activity.”

Investment Review Committee

The Adviser manages our portfolio under the general oversight of the Investment Review Committee. The Investment Review Committee includes certain individuals who are senior personnel of the Adviser and TSSP, as well as certain other persons appointed by the Adviser from time to time. Our Investment Team and the Investment Review Committee are supported by and have access to the investment professionals, analytical capabilities and support personnel of TSSP and TPG.

Structure of Investments

Since beginning our investment activities in July 2011, we have sought to generate current income primarily in U.S.-domiciled middle market companies through direct originations of senior secured loans and, to a lesser extent, originations of mezzanine and unsecured loans and investments in corporate bonds and equity and other investments.

Debt Investments

The terms of our debt investments are tailored to the facts and circumstances of each transaction and prospective portfolio company. We negotiate the structure of each investment to protect our rights and manage our risk while providing funding to help the portfolio company achieve its business plan. We invest in the following types of debt:

 

First-lien debt. First-lien debt is typically senior on a lien basis to other liabilities in the issuer’s capital structure and has the benefit of a first-priority security interest in assets of the issuer. The security interest ranks above the security interest of any second-lien lenders in those assets. Our first-lien debt may include stand-alone first-lien loans, “last out” first-lien loans, “unitranche” loans and secured corporate bonds with similar features to these categories of first-lien loans.

 

Stand-alone first-lien loans. Stand-alone first-lien loans are traditional first-lien loans. All lenders in the facility have equal rights to the collateral that is subject to the first-priority security interest.

 

“Last out” first-lien loans. “Last out” first-lien loans have a secondary priority behind super-senior “first out” first-lien loans in the collateral securing the loans in certain circumstances. The arrangements for a “last out” first-lien loan are set forth in an “agreement among lenders,” which provides lenders with “first out” and “last out” payment streams based on a single lien on

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the collateral. Since the “first out” lenders generally have priority over the “last out” lenders for receiving payment under certain specified events of default, or upon the occurrence of other triggering events under intercreditor agreements or agreements among lenders, the “last out” lenders bear a greater risk and, in exchange, receive a higher effective interest rate, through arrangements among the lenders, than the “first out” lenders or lenders in stand-alone first-lien loans. Agreements among lenders also typically provide greater voting rights to the “last out” lenders than the intercreditor agreements to which second-lien lenders often are subject.

 

“Unitranche” loans. Unitranche loans combine features of first-lien, second-lien and mezzanine debt, generally in a first-lien position. In many cases, we may provide the borrower most, if not all, of the capital structure above the equity. The primary advantages to the borrower are the ability to negotiate the entire debt financing with one lender and the elimination of intercreditor issues.

 

Second-lien debt. Our second-lien debt may include secured loans, and, to a lesser extent, secured corporate bonds, with a secondary priority behind first-lien debt. Second-lien debt typically is senior on a lien basis to other liabilities in the issuer’s capital structure and has the benefit of a security interest over assets of the issuer, though ranking junior to first-lien debt secured by those assets. First-lien lenders and second-lien lenders typically have separate liens on the collateral, and an intercreditor agreement provides the first-lien lenders with priority over the second-lien lenders’ liens on the collateral.

 

“Mezzanine” and “Unsecured” debt. Structurally, mezzanine debt usually ranks subordinate in priority of payment to first-lien and second-lien debt and may not have the benefit of financial covenants common in first-lien and second-lien debt. Unsecured debt may rank junior as it relates to proceeds in certain liquidations where it does not have the benefit of a lien in specific collateral held by creditors (typically first lien and/or second lien) who have a perfected security interest in such collateral. However, both mezzanine and unsecured debt ranks senior to common and preferred equity in an issuer’s capital structure. Mezzanine and unsecured debt investments generally offer lenders fixed returns in the form of interest payments and mezzanine debt will often provide lenders an opportunity to participate in the capital appreciation, if any, of an issuer through an equity interest. This equity interest typically takes the form of an equity co-investment or warrants. Due to its higher risk profile and often less restrictive covenants compared to senior secured loans, mezzanine and unsecured debt generally bears a higher stated interest rate than first-lien and second-lien debt.

Our debt investments are typically structured with the maximum seniority and collateral that we can reasonably obtain while seeking to achieve our total return target. We seek to limit the downside potential of our investments by:

 

requiring a total return on our investments (including both interest and potential equity appreciation) that compensates us for credit risk; and

 

negotiating covenants in connection with our investments that afford our portfolio companies as much flexibility in managing their businesses as possible, consistent with preservation of our capital. Such restrictions may include affirmative covenants (including reporting requirements), negative covenants (including financial covenants), lien protection, change of control provisions and board rights, including either observation or rights to a seat on the board under some circumstances.

Among the types of first-lien debt in which we invest, we generally are able to obtain higher effective interest rates on our “last out” first-lien loans than on other types of first-lien loans, since our “last-out” first-lien loans generally are more junior in the capital structure. Within our portfolio, we aim to maintain the appropriate proportion among the various types of first-lien loans, as well as second-lien debt and mezzanine debt, which allows us to achieve our target returns while maintaining our targeted amount of credit risk.

Equity and Other Investments

Our loans may include an equity interest in the issuer, such as a warrant or profit participation right. In certain instances, we also will make direct equity investments, although those situations are generally limited to those cases where we are making an investment in a more senior part of the capital structure of the issuer.

Investments

As of December 31, 2017 and 2016, we had made investments with an aggregate fair value of $1,693.7 million and $1,657.4 million, respectively, in 45 and 52 portfolio companies, respectively.

9


 

Investments consisted of the following at December 31, 2017 and 2016:

 

 

 

December 31, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net Unrealized

 

($ in millions)

 

Amortized Cost (1)

 

 

Fair Value

 

 

Gain (Loss)

 

First-lien debt investments

 

$

1,561.3

 

 

$

1,581.3

 

 

$

20.0

 

Second-lien debt investments

 

 

63.0

 

 

 

60.9

 

 

 

(2.1

)

Mezzanine and unsecured debt investments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equity and other investments

 

 

62.0

 

 

 

51.5

 

 

 

(10.5

)

Total Investments

 

$

1,686.3

 

 

$

1,693.7

 

 

$

7.4

 

 

 

 

December 31, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net Unrealized

 

($ in millions)

 

Amortized Cost (1)

 

 

Fair Value

 

 

Gain (Loss)

 

First-lien debt investments

 

$

1,592.8

 

 

$

1,599.6

 

 

$

6.8

 

Second-lien debt investments

 

 

24.0

 

 

 

19.6

 

 

 

(4.4

)

Mezzanine and unsecured debt investments

 

 

10.7

 

 

 

10.7

 

 

 

 

Equity and other investments

 

 

40.2

 

 

 

27.5

 

 

 

(12.7

)

Total Investments

 

$

1,667.7

 

 

$

1,657.4

 

 

$

(10.3

)

 

(1)

Amortized cost represents the original cost adjusted for the amortization of discounts or premiums, as applicable, on debt investments using the effective interest method.

The industry composition of investments at fair value at December 31, 2017 and 2016 was as follows:

 

 

 

December 31, 2017

 

 

December 31, 2016

 

Automotive

 

 

1.8

%

 

 

1.8

%

Beverage, food, and tobacco

 

 

4.5

%

 

 

3.5

%

Business services

 

 

13.8

%

 

 

17.0

%

Chemicals

 

 

0.7

%

 

 

0.7

%

Communications

 

 

6.7

%

 

 

Education

 

 

8.8

%

 

 

6.0

%

Electronics

 

 

 

 

4.2

%

Financial services

 

 

14.0

%

 

 

10.8

%

Healthcare

 

 

12.6

%

 

 

12.2

%

Hotel, gaming, and leisure

 

 

2.1

%

 

 

4.5

%

Human resource support services

 

 

 

 

6.5

%

Insurance

 

 

3.8

%

 

 

4.0

%

Internet services

 

 

2.9

%

 

 

3.1

%

Manufacturing

 

 

3.3

%

 

 

4.4

%

Marketing services

 

 

3.6

%

 

 

1.7

%

Office products

 

 

1.2

%

 

 

2.2

%

Oil, gas and consumable fuels

 

 

5.5

%

 

 

2.7

%

Other

 

 

 

 

0.5

%

Pharmaceuticals

 

 

8.2

%

 

 

4.5

%

Retail and consumer products

 

 

6.5

%

 

 

8.9

%

Transportation

 

 

 

 

0.8

%

Total

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

100.0

%

 

We classify the industries of our portfolio companies by end-market (such as healthcare, and business services) and not by the product or services (such as software) directed to those end-markets.

10


 

The geographic composition of investments at fair value at December 31, 2017 and 2016 was as follows:

 

 

 

December 31, 2017

 

 

December 31, 2016

 

United States

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midwest

 

 

10.0

%

 

 

12.8

%

Northeast

 

 

22.9

%

 

 

29.3

%

South

 

 

21.6

%

 

 

24.5

%

West

 

 

40.6

%

 

 

28.0

%

Canada

 

 

2.0

%

 

 

1.6

%

Europe

 

 

2.9

%

 

 

3.8

%

Total

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

100.0

%

 

Investment Commitments

As of December 31, 2017 and 2016, we had the following commitments to fund investments in current portfolio companies:

 

($ in millions)

 

December 31, 2017

 

 

December 31, 2016

 

AppStar Financial, LLC - Revolver

 

$

2.0

 

 

$

2.0

 

Clarabridge, Inc. - Revolver

 

 

 

 

2.5

 

CrunchTime Information Systems, Inc. - Delayed Draw

 

 

 

 

12.0

 

CrunchTime Information Systems, Inc. - Revolver

 

 

 

 

2.0

 

Ecommerce Industries, Inc. - Revolver

 

 

 

 

2.5

 

Frontline Technologies Group LLC - Delayed Draw

 

 

9.4

 

 

 

Heartland Automotive Holdings, LLC - Revolver

 

 

 

 

4.1

 

Helix Health Ltd. - Revolver

 

 

4.4

 

 

 

3.9

 

Illuminate Education, Inc. - Revolver

 

 

5.0

 

 

 

Industrial Physics LLC - Revolver

 

 

5.0

 

 

 

IRGSE Holding Corp. - Revolver

 

 

0.3

 

 

 

0.2

 

Lithium Technologies LLC - Revolver

 

 

3.7

 

 

 

Leaf US Holdings, Inc. - Revolver

 

 

2.0

 

 

 

2.0

 

Marketo,  Inc. - Revolver

 

 

1.9

 

 

 

1.9

 

Northern Oil & Gas - Delayed Draw

 

 

16.2

 

 

 

My Alarm Center, LLC - Delayed Draw

 

 

 

 

0.8

 

Network Merchants, Inc. - Revolver

 

 

 

 

0.8

 

PayLease, LLC - Revolver

 

 

3.3

 

 

 

5.0

 

PaySimple - Revolver

 

 

5.0

 

 

 

Rex Energy Corporation - Delayed Draw

 

 

11.1

 

 

 

Riskonnect, Inc. - Revolver

 

 

5.0

 

 

 

Sailpoint Technologies, Inc. - Revolver

 

 

 

 

1.2

 

ScentAir Technologies, Inc. - Revolver

 

 

0.8

 

 

 

2.1

 

Sovos Compliance, LLC - Delayed Draw

 

 

3.0

 

 

 

Sovos Compliance, LLC - Revolver

 

 

1.7

 

 

 

0.8

 

Total Portfolio Company Commitments

 

$

79.8

 

 

$

43.8

 

 

Other Commitments and Contingencies

As of December 31, 2017, we did not have any unfunded commitments to fund investments to new borrowers that were not current portfolio companies as of such date. As of December 31, 2016, we had additional unfunded commitments of $50.0 million to fund investments to new borrowers that were not current portfolio companies as of such date.

From time to time, we may become a party to certain legal proceedings incidental to the normal course of our business. As of December 31, 2017, management is not aware of any pending or threatened litigation.

11


 

Competition

We compete for investments with a number of BDCs and other investment funds (including private debt and equity funds and venture capital funds), special purpose acquisition company sponsors, investment banks with underwriting activities, hedge funds that invest in private investments in public equities, traditional financial services companies such as commercial banks, and other sources of financing. Many of these entities have greater financial and managerial resources than we do. In addition, many of our competitors are not subject to the regulatory restrictions that the 1940 Act imposes on us as a BDC. For additional information concerning the competitive risks we expect to face, see “ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS—Risks Related to Our Business and Structure—We operate in a highly competitive market for investment opportunities.

Capital Resources and Borrowings

We anticipate generating cash in the future from issuances of common stock and cash flows from operations, including interest received on our cash and cash equivalents, U.S. government securities and other high-quality debt investments that mature in one year or less.

Additionally, we are permitted, under specified conditions, to issue multiple classes of indebtedness and one class of shares senior to our common stock if our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, is at least equal to 200% immediately after each such issuance. As of December 31, 2017 and 2016, our asset coverage was 235.5% and 237.7%, respectively. See “Regulation as a Business Development Company—Senior Securities” below.

Furthermore, while any indebtedness and senior securities remain outstanding, we must make provisions to prohibit any distribution to our stockholders (which may cause us to fail to distribute amounts necessary to avoid entity-level taxation under the Code), or the repurchase of such securities or shares unless we meet the applicable asset coverage ratios at the time of the distribution or repurchase. In addition, we must also comply with positive and negative covenants customary for these types of facilities.

Our debt obligations consisted of the following as of December 31, 2017 and 2016:

 

 

 

December 31, 2017

 

 

 

Aggregate Principal

 

 

Outstanding

 

 

Amount

 

 

Carrying

 

($ in millions)

 

Amount Committed

 

 

Principal

 

 

Available (1)

 

 

Value (2)

 

Revolving Credit Facility

 

$

975.0

 

 

$

486.8

 

 

$

488.2

 

 

$

479.7

 

2019 Convertible Senior Notes

 

 

115.0

 

 

 

115.0

 

 

 

 

 

112.2

 

2022 Convertible Senior Notes

 

 

115.0

 

 

 

115.0

 

 

 

 

 

111.5

 

Total Debt

 

$

1,205.0

 

 

$

716.8

 

 

$

488.2

 

 

$

703.4

 

 

(1)

The amount available reflects any limitations related to the respective debt facilities’ borrowing bases.

(2)

The carrying values of the Revolving Credit Facility and 2019 and 2022 Convertible Senior Notes are presented net of deferred financing costs of $7.1 million, $1.5 million and $3.2 million, respectively

 

 

 

December 31, 2016

 

 

 

Aggregate Principal

 

 

Outstanding

 

 

Amount

 

 

Carrying

 

($ in millions)

 

Amount Committed

 

 

Principal

 

 

Available (1)

 

 

Value (2)

 

Revolving Credit Facility

 

$

945.0

 

 

$

578.7

 

 

$

366.3

 

 

$

569.9

 

2019 Convertible Senior Notes

 

 

115.0

 

 

 

115.0

 

 

 

 

 

110.8

 

Total Debt

 

$

1,060.0

 

 

$

693.7

 

 

$

366.3

 

 

$

680.7

 

 

(1)

The amount available reflects any limitations related to the respective debt facilities’ borrowing bases.

(2)

The carrying values of the Revolving Credit Facility and 2019 Convertible Senior Notes are presented net of deferred financing costs of $8.7 million and $2.3 million, respectively.

12


 

For the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, the components of interest expense were as follows:

 

($ in millions)

 

Year Ended December 31, 2017

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 2016

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 2015

 

Interest expense

 

$

22.9

 

 

$

20.5

 

 

$

15.3

 

Commitment fees

 

 

2.0

 

 

 

0.8

 

 

 

1.8

 

Amortization of deferred financing costs

 

 

3.2

 

 

 

2.2

 

 

 

5.9

 

Accretion of original issue discount

 

 

0.7

 

 

 

0.6

 

 

 

0.5

 

Swap settlement

 

 

(1.4

)

 

 

(1.0

)

 

 

(1.5

)

Total Interest Expense

 

$

27.4

 

 

$

23.1

 

 

$

22.0

 

Average debt outstanding

 

$

645.1

 

 

$

725.9

 

 

$

540.8

 

Weighted average interest rate

 

 

3.3

%

 

 

2.7

%

 

 

2.6

%

Average 1-month LIBOR rate

 

 

1.1

%

 

 

0.5

%

 

 

0.2

%

 

For more information on our debt, see “ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS——Financial Condition, Liquidity and Capital Resources.

Dividend Policy

To maintain our status as a RIC, we must distribute (or be treated as distributing) in each taxable year dividends for tax purposes of an amount equal to at least 90% of our investment company taxable income (which includes, among other items, dividends, interest, the excess of any net short-term capital gains over net long-term capital losses, as well as other taxable income, excluding any net capital gains reduced by deductible expenses) and 90% of our net tax-exempt income for that taxable year. As a RIC, we generally will not be subject to corporate-level U.S. federal income tax on our investment company taxable income and net capital gains that we distribute to stockholders. In addition, to avoid the imposition of a nondeductible 4% U.S. federal excise tax, we must distribute (or be treated as distributing) in each calendar year an amount at least equal to the sum of:

 

98% of our net ordinary income, excluding certain ordinary gains and losses, recognized during a calendar year;

 

98.2% of our capital gain net income, adjusted for certain ordinary gains and losses, recognized for the twelve-month period ending on October 31 of such calendar year; and

 

100% of any income or gains recognized, but not distributed, in preceding years.

We have previously incurred, and can be expected to incur in the future, such excise tax on a portion of our income and gains. While we intend to distribute income and capital gains to minimize exposure to the 4% excise tax, we may not be able to, or may choose not to, distribute amounts sufficient to avoid the imposition of the tax entirely. In that event, we will be liable for the tax only on the amount by which we do not meet the foregoing distribution requirement. See “ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS—Risks Related to Our Business and Structure—We will be subject to corporate-level income tax if we are unable to maintain our qualification as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code.”

Dividend Reinvestment Plan

We have adopted a dividend reinvestment plan, pursuant to which we will reinvest all cash dividends or distributions declared by the Board on behalf of investors who do not elect to receive their cash dividends or distributions in cash as provided below. As a result, if the Board authorizes, and we declare, a cash dividend or distribution, then our stockholders who have not elected to “opt out” of our dividend reinvestment plan will have their cash dividends or distributions automatically reinvested in additional common stock as described below.

No action is required on the part of a registered stockholder to have its cash dividend or other distribution reinvested in our common stock. A registered stockholder is able to elect to receive an entire cash dividend or distribution in cash by notifying State Street Bank and Trust Company, the plan administrator and our transfer agent and registrar, in writing, so that notice is received by the plan administrator no later than 10 days prior to the record date for the cash dividend or distributions to the stockholders. The plan administrator has set up an account for shares acquired through the plan for each stockholder who has not elected to receive cash dividends or distributions in cash and hold the shares in non-certificated form.

Those stockholders whose shares are held by a broker or other financial intermediary may receive cash dividends and other distributions in cash by notifying their broker or other financial intermediary of their election.

13


 

We expect to use primarily newly issued shares to implement the plan, whether our shares are trading at a premium or at a discount to net asset value. We reserve the right to purchase shares in the open market in connection with our implementation of the plan. The number of shares to be issued to a stockholder is determined by dividing the total dollar amount of the cash dividend or distribution payable to a stockholder by the market price per share of our common stock at the close of regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange, or “NYSE,” on the payment date of a distribution, or if no sale is reported for such day, the average of the reported bid and ask prices. However, if the market price per share on the payment date of a cash dividend or distribution exceeds the most recently computed net asset value per share, we will issue shares at the greater of (i) the most recently computed net asset value per share and (ii) 95% of the current market price per share (or such lesser discount to the current market price per share that still exceeded the most recently computed net asset value per share). Shares purchased in open market transactions by the plan administrator will be allocated to a stockholder based on the average purchase price, excluding any brokerage charges or other charges, of all shares of common stock purchased in the open market.

The number of shares of our common stock that will be outstanding after giving effect to payment of a cash dividend or distribution cannot be established until the value per share at which additional shares will be issued has been determined and elections of our stockholders have been tabulated. The number of shares to be issued to a stockholder pursuant to the foregoing will be rounded down to the nearest whole share to avoid the issuance of fractional shares, with any fractional shares being paid in cash. For non-U.S. stockholders, the number of shares to be issued to the stockholder will be the amount equal to the total dollar amount of the cash dividend or distribution payable, net of applicable withholding taxes.

There are no brokerage charges or other charges to stockholders who participate in the plan. The plan is terminable by us upon notice in writing mailed to each stockholder of record at least 30 days prior to any record date for the payment of any cash dividend or distribution by us. If a participant elects by written notice to the plan administrator to have the plan administrator sell part or all of the shares held by the plan administrator in the participant’s account and remit the proceeds to the participant, the plan administrator is authorized to deduct a $15.00 transaction fee plus a brokerage commission from the proceeds.

Administration

Each of our executive officers is an employee of our Adviser or its affiliates. We do not currently have any employees and do not expect to have any employees. Individuals who are employees of our Adviser or its affiliates provide services necessary for our business under the terms of the Investment Advisory Agreement and the Administration Agreement. Our day-to-day investment operations are managed by our Adviser and the services necessary for the origination and administration of our investment portfolio are provided by investment professionals employed by our Adviser or its affiliates. Our Investment Team focuses on origination and transaction development and the ongoing monitoring of our investments. In addition, we reimburse the Adviser for the allocable portion of the compensation paid by the Adviser (or its affiliates) to our Chief Compliance Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and other professionals who spend time on those related activities (based on the percentage of time those individuals devote, on an estimated basis, to our business and affairs). See “Investment Advisory Agreement; Administration Agreement; License Agreement” below.

Management Agreements

Investment Advisory Agreement; Administration Agreement; License Agreement

On April 15, 2011, we entered into the Investment Advisory Agreement with our Adviser. The Investment Advisory Agreement was subsequently amended on December 12, 2011.

Under the Investment Advisory Agreement, the Adviser:

 

determines the composition of our portfolio, the nature and timing of the changes to our portfolio and the manner of implementing those changes;

 

identifies, evaluates and negotiates the structure of the investments we make (including performing due diligence on our prospective portfolio companies);

 

determines the assets we will originate, purchase, retain or sell;

 

closes, monitors and administers the investments we make, including the exercise of any rights in our capacity as a lender or equity holder; and

 

provides us other investment advisory, research and related services as we may, from time to time, reasonably require for the investment of our funds, including providing operating and managerial assistance to us and our portfolio companies, as required.

The Adviser’s services under the Investment Advisory Agreement are not exclusive, and the Adviser is free to furnish similar or other services to others so long as its services to us are not impaired.

14


 

Under the terms of the Investment Advisory Agreement, we pay the Adviser a base management fee, or the “Management Fee,” and may also pay certain incentive fees, or “Incentive Fees”.

The Management Fee is calculated at an annual rate of 1.5% based on the average value of our gross assets calculated using the values at the end of the two most recently completed calendar quarters, adjusted for any share issuances or repurchases during the period. The Management Fee is payable quarterly in arrears and is prorated for any partial month or quarter.

For each of the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, Management Fees were $24.3 million, of which less than $0.1 million and $0.1 million, respectively, were waived in each period.

For the periods ended December 31, 2016 and prior, the Adviser voluntarily waived the Management Fee on our ownership of shares of common stock in TICC Capital Corp. (the “TICC Shares”).

In addition, the Adviser has voluntarily waived the Management Fee on our ownership of shares of common stock in Triangle Capital Corp. (the “TCAP Shares”) for any period in which Triangle Capital Corp. remains our portfolio company.

For the year ended December 31, 2017, Management Fees of less than $0.1 million were waived consisting solely of Management Fees attributable to our ownership of the TCAP Shares. For the year ended December 31, 2016, Management Fees of $0.1 million were waived consisting solely of Management Fees attributable to our ownership of the TICC Shares.  Any waived Management Fees are not subject to recoupment by the Adviser.

The Incentive Fee consists of two parts, as follows:

 

(i)

The first component, payable at the end of each quarter in arrears, equals 100% of the pre-Incentive Fee net investment income in excess of a 1.5% quarterly “hurdle rate,” the calculation of which is further explained below, until the Adviser has received 17.5% of the total pre-Incentive Fee net investment income for that quarter and, for pre-Incentive Fee net investment income in excess of 1.82% quarterly, 17.5% of all remaining pre-Incentive Fee net investment income for that quarter. The 100% “catch-up” provision for pre-Incentive Fee net investment income in excess of the 1.5% “hurdle rate” is intended to provide the Adviser with an incentive fee of 17.5% on all pre-Incentive Fee net investment income when that amount equals 1.82% in a quarter (7.28% annualized), which is the rate at which catch-up is achieved. Once the “hurdle rate” is reached and catch-up is achieved, 17.5% of any pre-Incentive Fee net investment income in excess of 1.82% in any quarter is payable to the Adviser.

Pre-Incentive Fee net investment income means dividends, interest and fee income accrued by us during the calendar quarter, minus our operating expenses for the quarter (including the Management Fee, expenses payable under the Administration Agreement to the Administrator, and any interest expense and dividends paid on any issued and outstanding preferred stock, but excluding the Incentive Fee). Pre-Incentive Fee net investment income includes, in the case of investments with a deferred interest feature (such as original issue discount, debt instruments with pay-in-kind interest and zero coupon securities), accrued income that we may not have received in cash. Pre-Incentive Fee net investment income does not include any realized capital gains, realized capital losses or unrealized capital appreciation or depreciation.

 

(ii)

The second component, payable at the end of each fiscal year in arrears, equaled 15% through March 31, 2014 and, beginning April 1, 2014, equals a weighted percentage of cumulative realized capital gains from our inception to the end of that fiscal year, less cumulative realized capital losses and unrealized capital depreciation. This component of the Incentive Fee is referred to as the Capital Gains Fee. Each year, the fee paid for this component of the Incentive Fee is net of the aggregate amount of any previously paid Capital Gains Fee for prior periods. For capital gains that accrue following March 31, 2014, the Incentive Fee rate is 17.5%. We accrue, but do not pay, a capital gains Incentive Fee with respect to unrealized capital appreciation because a capital gains Incentive Fee would be owed to the Adviser if we were to sell the relevant investment and realize a capital gain. The weighted percentage is intended to ensure that for each fiscal year following the completion of the IPO, the portion of our realized capital gains that accrued prior to March 31, 2014, is subject to an incentive fee rate of 15% and the portion of our realized capital gains that accrued beginning April 1, 2014 is subject to an incentive fee rate of 17.5%.

For purposes of determining whether pre-Incentive Fee net investment income exceeds the hurdle rate, pre-Incentive Fee net investment income is expressed as a rate of return on the value of our net assets at the end of the immediately preceding calendar quarter.  

Pre-Incentive Fee net investment income does not include any realized capital gains, realized capital losses or unrealized capital appreciation or depreciation. Because of the structure of the Incentive Fee, it is possible that we may pay an Incentive Fee in a quarter in which we incur a loss. For example, if we receive pre-Incentive Fee net investment income in excess of the quarterly minimum hurdle rate, we will pay the applicable Incentive Fee even if we have incurred a loss in that quarter due to realized and unrealized capital losses. In addition, because the quarterly minimum hurdle rate is calculated based on our net assets, decreases in our net assets due to realized or unrealized capital losses in any given quarter may increase the likelihood that the hurdle rate is reached and

15


 

therefore the likelihood of us paying an Incentive Fee for that quarter. Our net investment income used to calculate this component of the Incentive Fee is also included in the amount of our gross assets used to calculate the Management Fee because gross assets are total assets (including cash received) before deducting liabilities (such as declared dividend payments).

We accrue the Incentive Fee taking into account unrealized gains and losses; however, Section 205(b)(3) of the Advisers Act, as amended, prohibits the Adviser from receiving the payment of fees until those gains are realized, if ever. There can be no assurance that such unrealized gains will be realized in the future.

For the years ended December 31, 2017, and 2016, Incentive Fees were $25.5 million and $22.7 million, respectively, all of which were realized and payable to the Adviser. For the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, no incentive fees were accrued related to capital gains.

For the periods ended December 31, 2016 and prior, the Adviser voluntarily waived the Incentive Fees attributable to pre-Incentive Fee net investment income accrued by us as a result of our ownership of the TICC Shares. The Adviser did not waive any part of the Capital Gains Fee attributable to our ownership of the TICC Shares and, accordingly, any realized capital gains or losses and unrealized capital depreciation with respect to the TICC Shares apply against our cumulative realized capital gains on which the Capital Gains Fee is calculated.

In addition, the Adviser has voluntarily waived the Incentive Fees attributable to pre-Incentive Fee net investment income accrued by us as a result of our ownership of the TCAP Shares for any period in which Triangle Capital Corp. remains our portfolio company. The Adviser has not waived any part of the Capital Gains Fee attributable to our ownership of the TCAP Shares and, accordingly, any realized capital gains or losses and unrealized capital depreciation with respect to the TCAP Shares will be applied against our cumulative realized capital gains on which the Capital Gains Fee is calculated.

For the year ended December 31, 2017, Incentive Fees of less than $0.1 million were waived consisting solely of Incentive Fees attributable to our ownership of the TCAP Shares. For the year ended December 31, 2016, Incentive Fees of $0.3 million were waived consisting solely of Incentive Fees attributable to our ownership of the TICC Shares.  Any waived Incentive Fees are not subject to recoupment by the Adviser.

Since our IPO, with the exception of its waiver of Management Fees and certain Incentive Fees attributable to our ownership of the TCAP Shares and TICC Shares, the Adviser has not waived its right to receive any Management Fees or Incentive Fees payable pursuant to the Investment Advisory Agreement. There can be no assurance that the Adviser will continue to waive Management Fees or Incentive Fees related to our ownership of the TCAP Shares or TICC Shares, as the Adviser can discontinue the voluntary waiver at any time. Accordingly, we may be required to continue to pay the full amount of the Management Fee and Incentive Fee, including with respect to the TCAP Shares or TICC Shares, in future periods.

In November 2017, the Board renewed the Investment Advisory Agreement. Unless earlier terminated as described below, the Investment Advisory Agreement will remain in effect until November 2018, and may be extended subject to required approvals. The Investment Advisory Agreement will automatically terminate in the event of an assignment and may be terminated by either party without penalty on 60 days’ written notice to the other party.

Our Board monitors the mix and performance of our investments over time and seeks to satisfy itself that the Adviser is acting in our interests and that our fee structure appropriately incentivizes the Adviser to do so.

On March 15, 2011, we entered into the Administration Agreement with our Adviser. The Administration Agreement was subsequently amended on February 22, 2017 to make certain clarifications to the agreement to provide greater detail regarding the scope of the reimbursable costs and expenses of the Administrator’s services. Under the terms of the Administration Agreement, the Adviser provides administrative services to us. These services include providing office space, equipment and office services, maintaining financial records, preparing reports to stockholders and reports filed with the SEC, and managing the payment of expenses and the performance of administrative and professional services rendered by others. Certain of these services are reimbursable to the Adviser under the terms of the Administration Agreement. See “—Payment of Our Expenses” below. In addition, the Adviser is permitted to delegate its duties under the Administration Agreement to affiliates or third parties and we pay or reimburse the Adviser expenses incurred by any such affiliates or third parties for work done on our behalf. For the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, we incurred expenses of $3.5 million and $3.1 million, respectively, for administrative services payable under the terms of the Administration Agreement.

From time to time, the Adviser may pay amounts owed by us to third-party providers of goods or services, including the Board, and we will subsequently reimburse the Adviser for such amounts paid on our behalf. Amounts payable to the Adviser are settled in the normal course of business without formal payment terms.

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In November 2017, the Board renewed the Administration Agreement. Unless earlier terminated as described below, the Administration Agreement will remain in effect until November 2018, and may be extended subject to required approvals. The Administration Agreement may be terminated by either party without penalty on 60 days’ written notice to the other party.

No person who is an officer, director or employee of the Adviser or its affiliates and who serves as our director receives any compensation from us for his or her services as a director. However, we reimburse the Adviser or its affiliates for an allocable portion of the compensation paid by the Adviser or its affiliates to our Chief Compliance Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and other professionals who spend time on those related activities (based on the percentage of time those individuals devote, on an estimated basis, to our business and affairs). Directors who are not affiliated with the Adviser receive compensation for their services and reimbursement of expenses incurred to attend meetings.

The Adviser does not assume any responsibility to us other than to render the services described in, and on the terms of the Investment Advisory Agreement and the Administration Agreement, and is not responsible for any action of our Board in declining to follow the advice or recommendations of the Adviser. Under the terms of the Investment Advisory Agreement and the Administration Agreement, the Adviser (and its members, managers, officers, employees, agents, controlling persons and any other person or entity affiliated with it) shall not be liable to us for any action taken or omitted to be taken by the Adviser in connection with the performance of any of its duties or obligations under the Investment Advisory Agreement, the Administration Agreement or otherwise as an investment adviser of ours (except to the extent specified in Section 36(b) of the 1940 Act concerning loss resulting from a breach of fiduciary duty (as the same is finally determined by judicial proceedings) with respect to the receipt of compensation for services). We shall, to the fullest extent permitted by law, provide indemnification and the right to the advancement of expenses, to each person who was or is made a party or is threatened to be made a party to or is involved (including, without limitation, as a witness) in any actual or threatened action, suit or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative, by reason of the fact that he or she is or was a member, manager, officer, employee, agent, controlling person of the Adviser or any other person or entity affiliated with the Adviser, or is or was a member of the Adviser’s Investment Review Committee, on the same general terms set forth in Article VIII of our certificate of incorporation.

United States federal and state securities laws may impose liability under certain circumstances on persons who act in good faith. Nothing in the Investment Advisory Agreement will constitute a waiver or limitation of any rights that we may have under any applicable federal or state securities laws.

We also have a license agreement with an affiliate of TPG, pursuant to which we have been granted a non-exclusive license to use the TPG name and logo, for a nominal fee, for so long as the Adviser or one of its affiliates remains our investment adviser. Other than with respect to this limited license, we have no legal right to the “TPG” name or logo.

The following is a graphical representation of the calculation of the income-related portion of the Incentive Fee:

Quarterly Incentive Fee Based on Net Investment Income

Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income (expressed as a percentage of the value of net assets)

 

Percentage of pre-Incentive Fee net investment income allocated to income-related portion of Incentive Fee

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Examples of Quarterly Incentive Fee Calculation:

Example 1: Income Related Portion of Incentive Fee (*):

Alternative 1

Assumptions

Investment income (including interest, dividends, fees, etc.) = 2%

Hurdle rate (1) = 1.5%

Management fee (2) = 0.375%

Other expenses (legal, accounting, custodian, transfer agent, etc.) (3) = 0.20%

Pre-Incentive Fee net investment income

(investment income – (management fee + other expenses)) = 1.425%

Pre-Incentive Fee net investment income does not exceed hurdle rate, therefore there is no Incentive Fee.

Alternative 2

Assumptions

Investment income (including interest, dividends, fees, etc.) = 2.375%

Hurdle rate (1) = 1.5%

Management fee (2) = 0.375%

Other expenses (legal, accounting, custodian, transfer agent, etc.) (3) = 0.20%

Pre-Incentive Fee net investment income

(investment income – (management fee + other expenses)) = 1.8%

Incentive Fee = 100% × pre-Incentive Fee net investment income, subject to the “catch-up” (4)

= 100% × (1.8% – 1.5%)

= 0.3%

Alternative 3

Assumptions

Investment income (including interest, dividends, fees, etc.) = 3.5%

Hurdle rate (1) = 1.5%

Management fee (2) = 0.375%

Other expenses (legal, accounting, custodian, transfer agent, etc.) (3) = 0.20%

Pre-Incentive Fee net investment income

(investment income – (management fee + other expenses)) = 2.925%

Incentive Fee = 17.5% × pre-Incentive Fee net investment income, subject to “catch-up” (4)

Incentive Fee = 100% × “catch-up” + (17.5% × (pre-Incentive Fee net investment income – 1.82%))

Catch-up = 1.82% – 1.5% = 0.32%

Incentive Fee = (100% × 0.32%) + (17.5% × (2.925% – 1.82%))

= 0.32% + (17.5% × 1.105%)

= 0.32% + 0.193%

= 0.513%

(1)

Represents 6.0% annualized hurdle rate.

(2)

Represents 1.5% annualized management fee. For the purposes of these examples the management fee is assumed to be based on net assets, rather than gross assets.

(3)

Excludes organizational and offering expenses.

(4)

The “catch-up” provision is intended to provide the Adviser with an Incentive Fee of 17.5% on all of our pre-Incentive Fee net investment income as if a hurdle rate did not apply when our net investment income exceeds 1.5% in any calendar quarter and is not applied once the Adviser has received 17.5% of investment income in a quarter. The “catch-up” portion of our pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income is the portion that exceeds the 1.5% hurdle rate but is less than or equal to approximately 1.82% (that is, 1.5% divided by (1 – 0.175)) in any fiscal quarter.

(*)

The hypothetical amount of pre-Incentive Fee net investment income shown is based on a percentage of total net assets.

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Example 2: Capital Gains Portion of Incentive Fee:

Assumptions

 

Year 1: $10 million investment made in Company A (“Investment A”), $10 million investment made in Company B (“Investment B”), $10 million investment made in Company C (“Investment C”), $10 million investment made in Company D (“Investment D”) and $10 million investment made in Company E (“Investment E”).

 

Year 2: Investment A sold for $20 million, fair market value (“FMV”) of Investment B determined to be $8 million, FMV of Investment C determined to be $12 million, and FMV of Investments D and E each determined to be $10 million.

 

Year 3: IPO of the Company occurs. At IPO, FMV of Investment of B determined to be $8 million, FMV of Investment C determined to be $14 million, FMV of Investment D determined to be $14 million and FMV of Investment E determined to be $16 million.

 

Year 4: $10 million investment made in Company F (“Investment F”), Investment D sold for $12 million, FMV of Investment B determined to be $10 million, FMV of Investment C determined to be $16 million and FMV of Investment E determined to be $14 million.

 

Year 5: Investment C sold for $20 million, FMV of Investment B determined to be $14 million, FMV of Investment E determined to be $10 million and FMV of Investment F determined to $12 million.

 

Year 6: Investment B sold for $16 million, FMV of Investment E determined to be $8 million and FMV of Investment F determined to be $15 million.

 

Year 7: Investment E sold for $8 million and FMV of Investment F determined to be $17 million.

 

Year 8: Investment F sold for $18 million.

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These assumptions are summarized in the following chart:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cumulative

 

Cumulative

 

Cumulative

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unrealized

 

Realized

 

Realized

 

 

Investment

 

Investment

 

Investment

 

Investment

 

Investment

 

Investment

 

Capital

 

Capital

 

Capital

 

 

A

 

B

 

C

 

D

 

E

 

F

 

Depreciation

 

Losses

 

Gains

Year 1

  

$10 million

(cost basis)

 

$10 million

(cost basis)

 

$10 million

(cost basis)

 

$10 million

(cost basis)

 

$10 million

(cost basis)

 

 

 

 

Year 2

 

$20 million

(sale price)

 

$8 million

FMV

 

$12 million

FMV

 

$10 million

FMV

 

$10 million

FMV

 

 

$2 million

 

 

$10 million

Year 3 (IPO)

 

 

$8 million

FMV at IPO

 

$14 million

FMV at IPO

 

$14 million

FMV at IPO

 

$16 million

FMV at IPO

 

 

$2 million

 

 

$10 million

Year 4

 

 

$10 million

FMV

 

$16 million

FMV

 

$12 million

(sale price)

 

$14 million

FMV

 

$10 million

(cost basis)

 

 

 

$12 million

Year 5

 

 

$14 million

FMV

 

$20 million

(sale price)

 

 

$10 million

FMV

 

$12 million

FMV

 

 

 

$22 million

Year 6

 

 

$16 million

(sale price)

 

 

 

$8 million

FMV

 

$15 million

FMV

 

$2 million

 

 

$28 million

Year 7

 

 

 

 

 

$8 million

(sale price)

 

$17 million

FMV

 

 

$2 million

 

$28 million

Year 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

$18 million

(sale price)

 

 

$2  million

 

$36 million

 

The capital gains portion of the Incentive Fee would be:

 

Year 1: None

 

Year 2:

Capital Gains Fee = 15% multiplied by ($10 million realized capital gains on sale of Investment A less $2 million cumulative capital depreciation) = $1.2 million

 

Year 3:

Capital Gains Fee = (Weighted Percentage multiplied by ($10 million cumulative realized capital gains less $2 million cumulative capital depreciation)) less $1.2 million cumulative Capital Gains Fee previously paid = $1.2 million less $1.2 million = $0.00

Weighted Percentage = (15% multiplied by ($10 million Pre-IPO Gain Amount divided by $10 million Total Gain Amount )) plus (17.5% multiplied by ($0 Post-IPO Gain Amount divided by $10 million Total Gain Amount)) = 15%

 

Year 4:

Capital Gains Fee = (Weighted Percentage multiplied by ($12 million cumulative realized capital gains)) less $1.2 million cumulative Capital Gains Fee previously paid = $1.8 million less $1.2 million = $0.6 million

Weighted Percentage = (15% multiplied by ($12 million Pre-IPO Gain Amount divided by $12 million Total Gain Amount)) plus (17.5% multiplied by ($0 Post-IPO Gain Amount divided by $12 million Total Gain Amount)) = 15%

 

Year 5:

Capital Gains Fee = (Weighted Percentage multiplied by ($22 million cumulative realized capital gains)) less $1.8 million cumulative Capital Gains Fee previously paid = $3.45 million less $1.8 million = $1.65 million

Weighted Percentage = (15% multiplied by ($16 million Pre-IPO Gain Amount divided by $22 million Total Gain Amount)) plus (17.5% multiplied by ($6 million Post-IPO Gain Amount divided by $22 million Total Gain Amount)) = 15.68%

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Year 6:

Capital Gains Fee = (Weighted Percentage multiplied by ($28 million cumulative realized capital gains less $2 million cumulative capital depreciation)) less $3.45 million cumulative Capital Gains Fee previously paid = $4.18 million less $3.45 million = $0.73 million

Weighted Percentage = (15% multiplied by ($16 million Pre-IPO Gain Amount divided by $28 million Total Gain Amount)) plus (17.5% multiplied by ($12 million Post-IPO Gain Amount divided by $28 million Total Gain Amount)) = 16.07%

 

Year 7:

Capital Gains Fee = (Weighted Percentage multiplied by ($28 million cumulative realized capital gains less $2 million cumulative realized capital losses)) less $4.18 million cumulative Capital Gains Fee previously paid = $4.18 million less $4.18 million = $0.00

Weighted Percentage = (15% multiplied by ($16 million Pre-IPO Gain Amount divided by $28 million Total Gain Amount)) plus (17.5% multiplied by ($12 million Post-IPO Gain Amount divided by $28 million Total Gain Amount)) = 16.07%

 

Year 8:

Capital Gains Fee = (Weighted Percentage multiplied by ($36 million cumulative realized capital gains less $2 million cumulative realized capital losses)) less $4.18 million cumulative Capital Gains Fee previously paid = $5.57 million less $4.18 million = $1.39 million

Weighted Percentage = (15% multiplied by ($16 million Pre-IPO Gain Amount divided by $36 million Total Gain Amount)) plus (17.5% multiplied by ($20 million Post-IPO Gain Amount divided by $36 million Total Gain Amount)) = 16.39%

Payment of Our Expenses

The costs associated with our Investment Team and staff of the Adviser, when and to the extent engaged in providing us investment advisory and management services are paid for by the Adviser. We bear all other costs and expenses of our operations, administration and transactions, including those relating to:

 

calculating individual asset values and our net asset value (including the cost and expenses of any independent valuation firms);

 

expenses, including travel expenses, incurred by the Adviser, or members of our Investment Team, or payable to third parties, in respect of due diligence on prospective portfolio companies and, if necessary, in respect of enforcing our rights with respect to investments in existing portfolio companies;

 

the costs of any public offerings of our common stock and other securities, including registration and listing fees;

 

the Management Fee and any Incentive Fee;

 

certain costs and expenses relating to distributions paid on our shares;

 

administration fees payable under our Administration Agreement;

 

debt service and other costs of borrowings or other financing arrangements;

 

the Adviser’s allocable share of costs incurred in providing significant managerial assistance to those portfolio companies that request it;

 

amounts payable to third parties relating to, or associated with, making or holding investments;

 

transfer agent and custodial fees;

 

costs of hedging;

 

commissions and other compensation payable to brokers or dealers;

 

taxes;

 

Independent Director fees and expenses;

 

costs of preparing financial statements and maintaining books and records and filing reports or other documents with the SEC (or other regulatory bodies) and other reporting and compliance costs, and the compensation of professionals responsible for the preparation of the foregoing, including the allocable portion of the compensation of our Chief Financial Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and other professionals who spend time on those related activities (based on the percentage of time those individuals devote, on an estimated basis, to our business and affairs);

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the costs of any reports, proxy statements or other notices to our stockholders (including printing and mailing costs), the costs of any stockholders’ meetings and the compensation of investor relations personnel responsible for the preparation of the foregoing and related matters;

 

our fidelity bond;

 

directors and officers/errors and omissions liability insurance, and any other insurance premiums;

 

indemnification payments;

 

direct costs and expenses of administration, including audit, accounting, consulting and legal costs; and

 

all other expenses reasonably incurred by us in connection with making investments and administering our business.

In addition, from time to time, the Adviser pays amounts owed by us to third-party providers of goods or services, including the Board. We subsequently reimburse the Adviser for those amounts paid on our behalf. Amounts payable to the Adviser are settled in the normal course of business without formal payment terms. We also reimburse the Adviser for the allocable portion of the compensation paid by the Adviser or its affiliates to our Chief Compliance Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and other professionals who spend time on those related activities (based on the percentage of time those individuals devote, on an estimated basis, to our business and affairs).

Duration and Termination

Unless earlier terminated as described below, both the Investment Advisory Agreement and the Administration Agreement will remain in effect until November 2018, and each may be extended subject to required approvals. Each agreement will remain in effect from year to year thereafter if approved annually by our Board or by the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of our outstanding voting securities, and, in either case, if also approved by a majority of the directors of the Board who are not “interested persons” of us, the Adviser or any of our or its respective affiliates, as defined in the 1940 Act (known as Independent Directors). The Investment Advisory Agreement automatically terminates in the event of its assignment, as defined in the 1940 Act, by the Adviser. Each agreement may be terminated by either party without penalty on 60 days’ written notice to the other party. The holders of a majority of our outstanding voting securities may also terminate each agreement without penalty on 60 days’ written notice. See “ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS—Risks Related to Our Business and Structure—We are dependent upon management personnel of the Adviser, TSSP, TPG and their affiliates for our future success.”

Indemnification

The Investment Advisory Agreement and the Administration Agreement provide that the Adviser and its members, managers, officers, employees, agents, controlling persons and any other person or entity affiliated with it shall not be liable to us for any action taken or omitted to be taken by the Adviser in connection with the performance of any of its duties or obligations under the Investment Advisory Agreement, the Administration Agreement or otherwise as an investment adviser of ours (except to the extent specified in Section 36(b) of the 1940 Act concerning loss resulting from a breach of fiduciary duty (as the same is finally determined by judicial proceedings) with respect to the receipt of compensation for services). We will, to the fullest extent permitted by law, provide indemnification and the right to the advancement of expenses, to each person who was or is made a party or is threatened to be made a party to or is involved (including, without limitation, as a witness) in any actual or threatened action, suit or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative, because he or she is or was a member, manager, officer, employee, agent, controlling person or any other person or entity affiliated with the Adviser, including without limitation the Administrator, or is or was a member of the Adviser’s Investment Review Committee, on the same general terms set forth in our certificate of incorporation. Our obligation to provide indemnification and advancement of expenses is subject to the requirements of the 1940 Act and Investment Company Act Release No. 11330, which, among other things, preclude indemnification for any liability (whether or not there is an adjudication of liability or the matter has been settled) arising by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence, or reckless disregard of duties, and require reasonable and fair means for determining whether indemnification will be made.

Board Approval of the Investment Advisory Agreement

Our Board, including our Independent Directors, and holders of a majority of our outstanding securities, approved our Investment Advisory Agreement in December 2011. Our Board, including a majority of the Independent Directors, renewed the Investment Advisory Agreement in November 2017. In its consideration of the Investment Advisory Agreement at the time of approval and renewal, the Board focused on information it had received relating to, among other things:

 

the nature, quality and extent of the advisory and other services to be provided to us by the Adviser;

 

our investment performance and the performance of the Adviser;

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the extent to which economies of scale would be realized as we grow, and whether the fees payable under the Investment Advisory Agreement reflect these economies of scale for the benefit of our stockholders;

 

comparative data with respect to advisory fees or similar expenses paid by other BDCs with similar investment objectives;

 

our expense ratio compared to BDCs with similar investment objectives;

 

any existing and potential sources of indirect income to the Adviser from its relationships with us and the profitability of those income sources;

 

information about the services to be performed and the personnel performing those services under the Investment Advisory Agreement;

 

the organizational capability and financial condition of the Adviser and its respective affiliates; and

 

the possibility of obtaining similar services from other third-party service providers or through an internally managed structure.

The Board also takes into consideration the reimbursement of expenses incurred by the Adviser on our behalf, which expenses include travel expenses, when determining whether to approve renewal of the Investment Advisory Agreement and the Administration Agreement. No one factor was given greater weight than any others, but rather the Board considered all factors collectively as a whole.

Based on the information reviewed and the discussion thereof, the Board, including a majority of the Independent Directors, concluded that the investment advisory fee rates are reasonable in relation to the services to be provided.

Regulation as a Business Development Company

We are regulated as a BDC under the 1940 Act. A BDC must be organized in the United States for the purpose of investing in or lending to primarily private companies and making significant managerial assistance available to them. A BDC may use capital provided by public stockholders and from other sources to make long-term, private investments in businesses.

As with other companies regulated by the 1940 Act, a BDC must adhere to certain substantive regulatory requirements. A majority of our directors must be persons who are not “interested persons,” as that term is defined in the 1940 Act. Additionally, we are required to provide and maintain a bond issued by a reputable fidelity insurance company to protect us against larceny and embezzlement. Furthermore, as a BDC, we are prohibited from protecting any director or officer against any liability to us or our stockholders arising from willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of such person’s office.

As a BDC, we are permitted, under specified conditions, to issue multiple classes of indebtedness and one class of shares senior to our common stock if our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, is at least equal to 200% immediately after any borrowing or issuance. In addition, while any preferred stock or publicly traded debt securities are outstanding, we may be prohibited from making distributions to our stockholders or repurchasing securities or shares unless we meet the applicable asset coverage ratio at the time of the distribution or repurchase. We may also borrow amounts up to 5% of the value of our total assets for temporary or emergency purposes without regard to asset coverage. For a discussion of the risks associated with leverage, see “ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS—Risks Related to Our Business and Structure—We borrow money, which magnifies the potential for gain or loss and increases the risk of investing in us.” As of December 31, 2017 and 2016, our asset coverage was 235.5% and 237.7% respectively.

We may not change the nature of our business so as to cease to be, or withdraw our election as, a BDC unless authorized by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities, as required by the 1940 Act. A majority of the outstanding voting securities of a company is defined under the 1940 Act as the lesser of: (a) 67% or more of such company’s voting securities present at a meeting if more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities of such company are present or represented by proxy, and (b) more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities of such company.

We do not anticipate any substantial change in the nature of our business.

We do not intend to acquire securities issued by any investment company that exceed the limits imposed by the 1940 Act. Under these limits, except for registered money market funds, we generally cannot acquire more than 3% of the voting stock of any investment company, invest more than 5% of the value of our total assets in the securities of one investment company or invest more than 10% of the value of our total assets in the securities of investment companies in the aggregate. The portion of our portfolio invested in securities issued by investment companies ordinarily will subject our stockholders to additional expenses. Our investment portfolio is also subject to diversification requirements by virtue of our status as a RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes. See “—Regulated Investment Company Classification” for more information.

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In addition, investment companies registered under the 1940 Act and private funds that are excluded from the definition of “investment company” pursuant to either Section 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act may not acquire directly or through a controlled entity more than 3% of our total outstanding voting stock (measured at the time of the acquisition), unless the funds comply with an exemption under the 1940 Act. As a result, certain of our investors may hold a smaller position in our shares than if they were not subject to these restrictions.

We are generally not able to issue and sell our common stock at a price below net asset value per share. See “ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS—Risks Related to Our Business and Structure—Regulations governing our operation as a BDC affect our ability to, and the way in which we, raise additional capital.” We may, however, elect to issue and sell our common stock, or warrants, options or rights to acquire our common stock, at a price below the then-current net asset value of our common stock if our Board determines that the sale is in our best interests and the best interests of our stockholders, and our stockholders have approved our policy and practice of making these sales within the preceding 12 months. Pursuant to approval granted at a special meeting of stockholders held on May 18, 2017, we are currently permitted to sell or otherwise issue shares of our common stock at a price below our then-current net asset value per share, subject to the approval of our Board and certain other conditions. Such stockholder approval expires on May 18, 2018. We may in the future seek such approval again; however, there is no assurance such approval will be obtained. In this case, the price at which our securities are to be issued and sold may not be less than a price that, in the determination of our Board, closely approximates the market value of such securities. In addition, we may generally issue new common stock at a price below net asset value in rights offerings to existing stockholders, in payment of dividends and in certain other limited circumstances.

We are subject to periodic examination by the SEC for compliance with the 1940 Act.

As a BDC, we are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. See “ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS—Risks Related to Our Business and Structure.

Transactions with our Affiliates

We may also be prohibited under the 1940 Act from knowingly participating in certain transactions with our affiliates, including our officers, directors, investment adviser, and principal underwriters, and certain of their affiliates, without the prior approval of the members of our Board who are not interested persons and, in some cases, prior approval by the SEC through an exemptive order (other than in certain limited situations pursuant to current regulatory guidance).

On December 16, 2014, we were granted an exemptive order from the SEC that allows us to co-invest, subject to certain conditions and to the extent the size of an investment opportunity exceeds the amount our Adviser has independently determined is appropriate for us to invest, with affiliates of TSSP and TPG in middle-market loan origination activities for companies domiciled in the United States and certain “follow-on” investments in companies in which we have already co-invested pursuant to the order and remain invested.

We believe our ability to co-invest with TSSP and TPG affiliates is particularly useful where we identify larger capital commitments than otherwise would be appropriate for us. We expect that with the ability to co-invest with TSSP and TPG affiliates we will continue to be able to provide “one-stop” financing to a potential portfolio company in these circumstances, which may allow us to capture opportunities where we alone could not commit the full amount of required capital or would have to spend additional time to locate unaffiliated co-investors.

Further, in accordance with the exemptive order, we have undertaken that, in connection with any commitment to a co-investment or follow-on investment, a “required majority” (as defined in Section 57(o) of the 1940 Act) of Independent Directors must make certain conclusions, including that:

 

the terms of the proposed transaction (including the consideration to be paid) are reasonable and fair to us and our stockholders and do not involve overreaching of us or our stockholders on the part of any person concerned;

 

the transaction is consistent with the interests of our stockholders and our investment strategies and policies;

 

the investment by our affiliate would not disadvantage us, and our participation is not on a basis different from or less advantageous than that of our affiliate; and

 

our investment will not benefit any affiliate other than the affiliate participating in the investment, and as otherwise permitted by the order.

See “ITEM 13. CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE.

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Qualifying Assets

Under the 1940 Act, a BDC may not acquire any assets other than assets of the type listed in Section 55(a) of the 1940 Act, which are referred to as qualifying assets, unless, at the time the acquisition is made, qualifying assets represent at least 70% of the company’s total assets. The principal categories of qualifying assets relevant to our business are the following:

 

Securities purchased in transactions not involving any public offering from the issuer of such securities, which issuer (subject to certain limited exceptions) is an eligible portfolio company, or from any person who is, or has been during the preceding 13 months, an affiliated person of an eligible portfolio company, or from any other person, subject to such rules as may be prescribed by the SEC. An eligible portfolio company is defined in the 1940 Act as any issuer which:

 

is organized under the laws of, and has its principal place of business in, the United States;

 

is not an investment company (other than a small business investment company wholly owned by us) or a company that would be an investment company but for certain exclusions under the 1940 Act; and

 

satisfies any of the following:

 

has an equity market capitalization of less than $250 million or does not have any class of securities listed on a national securities exchange;

 

is controlled by a BDC or a group of companies including a BDC, the BDC actually exercises a controlling influence over the management or policies of the eligible portfolio company, and, as a result thereof, the BDC has an affiliated person who is a director of the eligible portfolio company; or

 

is a small and solvent company having total assets of not more than $4 million and capital and surplus of not less than $2 million.

 

Securities of any eligible portfolio company that we control.

 

Securities purchased in a private transaction from a U.S. issuer that is not an investment company or from an affiliated person of the issuer, or in transactions incident thereto, if the issuer is in bankruptcy and subject to reorganization or if the issuer, immediately prior to the purchase of its securities was unable to meet its obligations as they came due without material assistance other than conventional lending or financing arrangements.

 

Securities of an eligible portfolio company purchased from any person in a private transaction if there is no ready market for such securities and we already own 60% of the outstanding equity of the eligible portfolio company.

 

Securities received in exchange for or distributed on or with respect to securities described above, or pursuant to the exercise of warrants or rights relating to such securities.

 

Cash, cash equivalents, U.S. Government securities or high-quality debt securities maturing in one year or less from the time of investment.

Pending investment in other types of “qualifying assets,” as described above, our investments may consist of cash, cash equivalents, U.S. Government securities or high-quality debt securities maturing in one year or less from the time of investment, which we refer to, collectively, as temporary investments, such that at least 70% of our assets are qualifying assets. Our Adviser will monitor the creditworthiness of the counterparties with which we enter into repurchase agreement transactions.

Managerial Assistance to Portfolio Companies

A BDC must be operated for the purpose of making investments in the types of securities described under “Qualifying Assets” above. However, to count portfolio securities as qualifying assets for the purpose of the 70% test, the BDC must offer to make available to the issuer of the securities (other than small and solvent companies described above) significant managerial assistance; except that, where the BDC purchases such securities in conjunction with one or more other persons acting together, the BDC will satisfy this test if one of the other persons in the group makes available such managerial assistance. Making available managerial assistance means, among other things, either controlling the issuer of the securities or any arrangement whereby the BDC, through its directors, officers or employees, offers to provide, and, if accepted, does in fact provide, significant guidance and counsel concerning the management, operations or business objectives and policies of a portfolio company.

Senior Securities

As a BDC, we generally must have 200% asset coverage for our debt after incurring any new indebtedness, meaning that the total value of our assets must be at least twice the amount of the debt (i.e., 50% leverage). As of December 31, 2017 and 2016, our asset coverage was 235.5% and 237.7% respectively.

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We are permitted, under specified conditions, to issue multiple classes of indebtedness and one class of shares senior to our common stock if our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, is at least equal to 200% immediately after any borrowing or issuance. In addition, while any preferred stock or publicly-traded debt securities are outstanding, we may be prohibited from making distributions to our stockholders or repurchasing securities or shares unless we meet the applicable asset coverage ratio at the time of the distribution or repurchase. We may also borrow amounts up to 5% of the value of our total assets for temporary or emergency purposes without regard to asset coverage.

The 1940 Act imposes limitations on a BDC’s issuance of preferred stock, which is considered a “senior security” and thus is subject to the 200% asset coverage requirement described above.

Code of Ethics

As required by the Advisers Act and the 1940 Act, we and the Adviser have adopted codes of ethics which apply to, among others, our and our Adviser’s executive officers, including our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, as well as our Adviser’s officers, directors and employees. The codes of ethics establish procedures for personal investments and restrict certain personal securities transactions. Personnel subject to the code may invest in securities for their personal investment accounts, including securities that may be purchased or held by us, so long as such investments are made in accordance with the code’s requirements. There have been no material changes to the codes or material waivers of the codes that apply to our Chief Executive Officer or Chief Financial Officer.

Compliance Policies and Procedures

We and our Adviser have adopted and implemented written policies and procedures reasonably designed to detect and prevent violation of the federal securities laws and we are required to review these compliance policies and procedures annually for their adequacy and the effectiveness of their implementation and designate a Chief Compliance Officer to be responsible for administering the policies and procedures.

Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 imposes a wide variety of regulatory requirements on certain publicly held companies and their insiders. Assuming certain requirements are met, many of these requirements affect us. For example:

 

pursuant to Rule 13a-14 of the Exchange Act, our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer certify the accuracy of the financial statements contained in our periodic reports;

 

pursuant to Item 307 of Regulation S-K, our periodic reports disclose our conclusions about the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures;

 

pursuant to Rule 13a-15 of the Exchange Act, subject to certain assumptions, our management is required to prepare an annual report regarding its assessment of our internal control over financial reporting, which is required to be audited by our independent registered public accounting firm; and,

 

pursuant to Item 308 of Regulation S-K and Rule 13a-15 of the Exchange Act, our periodic reports disclose whether there were significant changes in our internal controls over financial reporting or in other factors that could significantly affect these controls subsequent to the date of their evaluation, including any corrective actions with regard to significant deficiencies and material weaknesses.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires us to review our policies and procedures to determine whether we comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the regulations promulgated thereunder. We continue to monitor our compliance with all regulations that are adopted under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and take actions necessary to ensure that we are in compliance therewith.

The NYSE Corporate Governance Rules

The NYSE has adopted corporate governance rules that listed companies must comply with. We believe we are in compliance with these rules.

Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures

We delegate our proxy voting responsibility to our Adviser. The Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures of our Adviser are set forth below. The guidelines are reviewed periodically by the Adviser and our Independent Directors, and, accordingly, are subject to change.

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An investment adviser registered under the Advisers Act has a fiduciary duty to act solely in the best interests of its clients. As part of this duty, the Adviser recognizes that it must vote client securities in a timely manner free of conflicts of interest and in the best interests of its clients. These policies and procedures for voting proxies for the Adviser’s investment advisory clients are intended to comply with Section 206 of, and Rule 206(4)-6 under, the Advisers Act.

The Adviser will vote all proxies based upon the guiding principle of seeking the maximization of the ultimate long-term economic value of our stockholders’ holdings, and ultimately all votes are cast on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the contractual obligations under the relevant advisory agreements or comparable documents, and all other relevant facts and circumstances at the time of the vote. All proxy voting decisions will require a mandatory conflicts of interest review by our Chief Compliance Officer in accordance with these policies and procedures, which will include consideration of whether the Adviser or any investment professional or other person recommending how to vote the proxy has an interest in how the proxy is voted that may present a conflict of interest. It is the Adviser’s general policy to vote or give consent on all matters presented to security holders in any proxy, and these policies and procedures have been designed with that in mind. However, the Adviser reserves the right to abstain on any particular vote or otherwise withhold its vote or consent on any matter if, in the judgment of our Chief Compliance Officer or the relevant investment professional(s), the costs associated with voting such proxy outweigh the benefits to our stockholders or if the circumstances make such an abstention or withholding otherwise advisable and in the best interest of the relevant stockholder(s).

Privacy Principles

We are committed to maintaining the confidentiality, integrity and security of nonpublic personal information relating to investors. The following information is provided to help investors understand what personal information we collect, how we protect that information and why, in certain cases, we may share information with select other parties.

We generally will not receive any nonpublic personal information relating to stockholders who purchase common stock. We may collect nonpublic personal information regarding certain investors from sources such as subscription agreements, investor questionnaires and other forms; individual investors’ account histories; and correspondence between us and individual investors. We may share information that we collect regarding an investor with our affiliates and the employees of such affiliates for legitimate business purposes, for example, to service the investor’s accounts or provide the investor with information about other products and services offered by us or our affiliates that may be of interest to the investor. In addition, we may disclose information that we collect regarding investors to third parties who are not affiliated with us (i) as authorized by our investors in investor subscription agreements or our organizational documents; (ii) as required by law or in connection with regulatory or law enforcement inquiries; or, (iii) as otherwise permitted by law to the extent necessary to effect, administer or enforce investor transactions or our transactions.

Any party that receives nonpublic personal information relating to investors from us is permitted to use the information only for legitimate business purposes or as otherwise required or permitted by applicable law or regulation. In this regard, our officers, employees and agents and those of our affiliates, access to such information is restricted to those who need such access to provide services to us and our investors. We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to seek to guard investor nonpublic personal information.

Reporting Obligations

We will furnish our stockholders with annual reports containing audited financial statements, quarterly reports, and such other periodic reports, as we determine to be appropriate or as may be required by law. We are required to comply with all periodic reporting, proxy solicitation and other applicable requirements under the Exchange Act.

We make available on our website (www.tpgspecialtylending.com) our proxy statements, our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and our current reports on Form 8-K.

Investors and the public may also read and copy any materials we file with the SEC at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street N.E., Room 1580 Washington, DC 20549. The public may also obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC also maintains a website (www.sec.gov) that contains this information.

Regulated Investment Company Classification

As a BDC, we have elected to be treated as a RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Our status as a RIC enables us to deduct qualifying distributions to our stockholders, so that we will be subject to corporate-level U.S. federal income taxation only in respect of income and gains that we retain and do not distribute.

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To maintain our status as a RIC, we must, among other things:

 

maintain our election under the 1940 Act to be treated as a BDC;

 

derive in each taxable year at least 90% of our gross income from dividends, interest, gains from the sale or other disposition of stock or securities and other specified categories of investment income; and

 

maintain diversified holdings so that, subject to certain exceptions and cure periods, at the end of each quarter of our taxable year:

 

at least 50% of the value of our total gross assets is represented by cash and cash items, U.S. government securities, the securities of other RICs and “other securities,” provided that such “other securities” shall not include any amount of any one issuer, if our holdings of such issuer are greater in value than 5% of our total assets or greater than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer, and

 

no more than 25% of the value of our assets may be invested in securities of any one issuer, the securities of any two or more issuers that are controlled by us and are engaged in the same or similar or related trades or businesses (excluding U.S. government securities and securities of other RICs), or the securities of one or more “qualified publicly traded partnerships.”

To maintain our status as a RIC, we must distribute (or be treated as distributing) in each taxable year dividends for tax purposes of an amount equal to at least 90% of our investment company taxable income (which includes, among other items, dividends, interest, the excess of any net short-term capital gains over net long-term capital losses, as well as other taxable income, excluding any net capital gains reduced by deductible expenses) and 90% of our net tax-exempt income for that taxable year. As a RIC, we generally will not be subject to corporate-level U.S. federal income tax on our investment company taxable income and net capital gains that we distribute to stockholders. In addition, to avoid the imposition of a nondeductible 4% U.S. federal excise tax, we must distribute (or be treated as distributing) in each calendar year an amount at least equal to the sum of:

 

98% of our net ordinary income, excluding certain ordinary gains and losses, recognized during a calendar year;

 

98.2% of our capital gain net income, adjusted for certain ordinary gains and losses, recognized for the twelve-month period ending on October 31 of such calendar year; and

 

100% of any income or gains recognized, but not distributed, in preceding years.

We have previously incurred, and can be expected to incur in the future, such excise tax on a portion of our income and gains. While we intend to distribute income and capital gains to minimize exposure to the 4% excise tax, we may not be able to, or may choose not to, distribute amounts sufficient to avoid the imposition of the tax entirely. In that event, we will be liable for the tax only on the amount by which we do not meet the foregoing distribution requirement.

We generally expect to distribute substantially all of our earnings on a quarterly basis, but will reinvest dividends on behalf of those investors that do not elect to receive their dividends in cash. See “—Dividend Policy” and “—Dividend Reinvestment Plan” for a description of our dividend policy and obligations. One or more of the considerations described below, however, could result in the deferral of dividend distributions until the end of the fiscal year:

 

We may make investments that are subject to tax rules that require us to include amounts in our income before we receive cash corresponding to that income or that defer or limit our ability to claim the benefit of deductions or losses. For example, if we hold securities issued with original issue discount, that original issue discount may be accrued in income before we receive any corresponding cash payments.

 

In cases where our taxable income exceeds our available cash flow, we will need to fund distributions with the proceeds of sale of securities or with borrowed money, and may raise funds for this purpose opportunistically over the course of the year.

In certain circumstances (e.g., where we are required to recognize income before or without receiving cash representing such income), we may have difficulty making distributions in the amounts necessary to satisfy the requirements for maintaining RIC status and for avoiding U.S. federal income and excise taxes. Accordingly, we may have to sell investments at times we would not otherwise consider advantageous, raise additional debt or equity capital or reduce new investment originations to meet these distribution requirements. If we are not able to obtain cash from other sources, we may fail to qualify as a RIC and thereby be subject to corporate-level U.S. federal income tax.

If in any particular taxable year, we do not qualify as a RIC, all of our taxable income (including our net capital gains) will be subject to tax at regular corporate rates without any deduction for distributions to stockholders, and distributions will be taxable to our stockholders as ordinary dividends to the extent of our current or accumulated earnings and profits, and distributions would not be required. Distributions in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits would be treated first as a return of capital to the extent of the stockholder’s tax basis, and any remaining distributions would be treated as capital gain. If we fail to qualify as a RIC for

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a period greater than two consecutive taxable years, to qualify as a RIC in a subsequent year we may be subject to regular corporate tax on any net built-in gains with respect to certain of our assets (that is, the excess of the aggregate gains, including items of income, over aggregate losses that would have been realized with respect to such assets if we had sold the property at fair market value at the end of the taxable year) that we elect to recognize on requalification or when recognized over the next five years.

In the event we invest in foreign securities, we may be subject to withholding and other foreign taxes with respect to those securities. We do not expect to satisfy the conditions necessary to pass through to our stockholders their share of the foreign taxes paid by us.

 

 

ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS

Investing in our securities involves a number of significant risks. Before you invest in our securities, you should be aware of various risks associated with the investment, including those described below. The risks set out below are not the only risks we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or not presently deemed material by us may also impair our operations and performance. If any of the following events occur, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. In such case, our net asset value and the trading price of our securities could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment.

Risks Related to Our Business and Structure

We are dependent upon management personnel of the Adviser, TSSP, TPG and their affiliates for our future success.

We depend on the experience, diligence, skill and network of business contacts of senior members of our Investment Team. Our Investment Team, together with other professionals at TSSP and TPG and their affiliates, identifies, evaluates, negotiates, structures, closes, monitors and manages our investments. Our success will depend to a significant extent on the continued service and coordination of the senior members of our Investment Team. The senior members of our Investment Team are not contractually restricted from leaving the Adviser. The departure of any of these key personnel, including members of our Adviser’s Investment Review Committee, could have a material adverse effect on us.

In addition, we cannot assure you that the Adviser will remain our investment adviser or that we will continue to have access to TSSP, TPG or their investment professionals. The Investment Advisory Agreement may be terminated by either party without penalty on 60 days’ written notice to the other party. The holders of a majority of our outstanding voting securities may also terminate the Investment Advisory Agreement without penalty on 60 days’ written notice.

Regulations governing our operation as a BDC affect our ability to, and the way in which we, raise additional capital.

The 1940 Act imposes numerous constraints on the operations of BDCs. See ITEM 1. BUSINESS—Regulation as a Business Development Company” for a discussion of BDC limitations. For example, BDCs are required to invest at least 70% of their total assets in securities of nonpublic or thinly traded U.S. companies, cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities and other high-quality debt investments that mature in one year or less. These constraints may hinder the Adviser’s ability to take advantage of attractive investment opportunities and to achieve our investment objective.

We may need to periodically access the debt and equity capital markets to raise cash to fund new investments in excess of our repayments, and we may also need to access the capital markets to refinance existing debt obligations to the extent such maturing obligations are not repaid with availability under our revolving credit facilities or cash flows from operations.

Regulations governing our operation as a BDC affect our ability to raise additional capital, and the ways in which we can do so. Raising additional capital may expose us to risks, including the typical risks associated with leverage, and may result in dilution to our current stockholders. The 1940 Act limits our ability to incur borrowings and issue debt securities and preferred stock, which we refer to as senior securities, requiring that after any borrowing or issuance the ratio of total assets (less total liabilities other than indebtedness) to total indebtedness plus preferred stock, is at least 200%. We may need to continue to borrow from financial institutions and issue additional securities to fund our growth. Unfavorable economic or capital market conditions may increase our funding costs, limit our access to the capital markets or could result in a decision by lenders not to extend credit to us. An inability to successfully access the capital markets may limit our ability to refinance our existing debt obligations as they come due and/or to fully execute our business strategy and could limit our ability to grow or cause us to have to shrink the size of our business, which could decrease our earnings, if any. Consequently, if the value of our assets declines or we are unable to access the capital markets we may be required to sell a portion of our investments and, depending on the nature of our leverage, repay a portion of our indebtedness at a time when this may be disadvantageous. Also, any amounts that we use to service our indebtedness would not be available for distributions to our common stockholders. If we borrow money or issue senior securities, we will be exposed to typical risks associated with leverage, including an increased risk of loss.

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If we issue preferred stock, the preferred stock would rank senior to common stock in our capital structure. Preferred stockholders would have separate voting rights on certain matters and may have other rights, preferences or privileges more favorable than those of our common stockholders. The issuance of preferred stock could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a transaction or a change of control that might involve a premium price for holders of our common stock or otherwise be in your best interest. Holders of our common stock will directly or indirectly bear all of the costs associated with offering and servicing any preferred stock that we issue. In addition, any interests of preferred stockholders may not necessarily align with the interests of holders of our common stock and the rights of holders of shares of preferred stock to receive dividends would be senior to those of holders of shares of our common stock.

Our Board may decide to issue additional common stock to finance our operations rather than issuing debt or other senior securities. However, we generally are not able to issue and sell our common stock at a price below net asset value per share. We may, however, elect to issue and sell our common stock, or warrants, options or rights to acquire our common stock, at a price below the then-current net asset value of our common stock if our Board determines that the sale is in our best interests and the best interests of our stockholders, and our stockholders have approved our policy and practice of making these sales within the preceding 12 months. Pursuant to approval granted at a special meeting of stockholders held on May 18, 2017, we are currently permitted to sell or otherwise issue shares of our common stock at a price below our then-current net asset value per share, subject to the approval of our Board and certain other conditions. Such stockholder approval expires on May 18, 2018. We may in the future seek such approval again; however, there is no assurance such approval will be obtained. In any such case, the price at which our securities are to be issued and sold may not be less than a price that, in the determination of our Board, closely approximates the market value of those securities (less any distribution commission or discount). In the event we sell shares of our common stock at a price below net asset value per share, existing stockholders will experience net asset value dilution. This dilution would occur as a result of the sale of shares at a price below the then current net asset value per share of our common stock and would cause a proportionately greater decrease in the stockholders’ interest in our earnings and assets and their voting interest in us than the increase in our assets resulting from such issuance. As a result of any such dilution, our market price per share may decline. Because the number of shares of common stock that could be so issued and the timing of any issuance is not currently known, the actual dilutive effect cannot be predicted.

In addition to issuing securities to raise capital as described above, we could securitize our investments to generate cash for funding new investments. To securitize our investments, we likely would create a wholly owned subsidiary, contribute a pool of loans to the subsidiary and have the subsidiary issue primarily investment grade debt securities to purchasers who we would expect would be willing to accept a substantially lower interest rate than the loans earn. We would retain all or a portion of the equity in the securitized pool of loans. Our retained equity would be exposed to any losses on the portfolio of investments before any of the debt securities would be exposed to the losses. An inability to successfully securitize our investment portfolio could limit our ability to grow or fully execute our business and could adversely affect our earnings, if any. The successful securitization of our investment could expose us to losses because the portions of the securitized investments that we would typically retain tend to be those that are riskier and more apt to generate losses. The 1940 Act also may impose restrictions on the structure of any securitization. In connection with any future securitization of investments, we may incur greater set-up and administration fees relating to such vehicles than we have in connection with financing of our investments in the past. See “—Risks Related to Our Portfolio Company InvestmentsWe may securitize certain of our investments, which may subject us to certain structured financing risks.”

We borrow money, which magnifies the potential for gain or loss and increases the risk of investing in us.

As part of our business strategy, we borrow from and may in the future issue additional senior debt securities to banks, insurance companies and other lenders. Holders of these loans or senior securities would have fixed-dollar claims on our assets that have priority over the claims of our stockholders. If the value of our assets decreases, leverage will cause our net asset value to decline more sharply than it otherwise would have without leverage. Similarly, any decrease in our income would cause our net income to decline more sharply than it would have if we had not borrowed. This decline could negatively affect our ability to make dividend payments on our common stock. Our ability to service our borrowings depends largely on our financial performance and is subject to prevailing economic conditions and competitive pressures. In addition, the Management Fee is payable based on our gross assets, including cash and assets acquired through the use of leverage, which may give our Adviser an incentive to use leverage to make additional investments. See “—Risks Related to Our Business and Structure—Even in the event the value of your investment declines, the Management Fee and, in certain circumstances, the Incentive Fee will still be payable to the Adviser.” The amount of leverage that we employ will depend on our Adviser’s and our Board’s assessment of market and other factors at the time of any proposed borrowing. We cannot assure you that we will be able to obtain credit at all or on terms acceptable to us.

Our credit facilities and indentures governing our indebtedness also impose financial and operating covenants that restrict our business activities, remedies on default and similar matters. As of the date of this Annual Report, we are in compliance with the covenants of our credit facilities and indentures. However, our continued compliance with these covenants depends on many factors, some of which are beyond our control. Accordingly, although we believe we will continue to be in compliance, we cannot assure you that we will continue to comply with the covenants in our credit facilities and indentures. Failure to comply with these covenants

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could result in a default. If we were unable to obtain a waiver of a default from the lenders or holders of that indebtedness, as applicable, those lenders or holders could accelerate repayment under that indebtedness. An acceleration could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Lastly, we may be unable to obtain additional leverage, which would, in turn, affect our return on capital.

Lastly, the SEC has issued a proposed rule, Rule 18f-4, that if adopted would potentially constrain our ability to use leverage if we have substantial exposure to swaps and other derivatives, or have significant outstanding financial commitments to our portfolio companies. See “—Risks Related to Our Portfolio Company Investments—We expose ourselves to risks when we engage in hedging transactions.”

As of December 31, 2017, we had $716.8 million of outstanding indebtedness, which had an annualized interest cost of 3.34% under the terms of our debt, excluding fees (such as fees on undrawn amounts and amortization of upfront fees) and giving effect to the swap-adjusted interest rate on our 2019 and 2022 Convertible Senior Notes. As of December 31, 2017, the interest rate on our 2019 Convertible Senior Notes, as adjusted to give effect to the interest rate swaps, was three-month London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, plus 286 basis points and the interest rate on our 2022 Convertible Senior Notes was three-month LIBOR plus 237.2 basis points.  

For us to cover these annualized interest payments on indebtedness, we must achieve annual returns on our investments of at least 1.4%. Since we generally pay interest at a floating rate on our debt, an increase in interest rates will generally increase our borrowing costs. We expect that our annualized interest cost and returns required to cover interest will increase if we issue additional debt securities.

In order to assist investors in understanding the effects of leverage, the following table illustrates the effect of leverage on returns from an investment in our common stock assuming various annual returns, net of expenses. Leverage generally magnifies the return of stockholders when the portfolio return is positive and magnifies their losses when the portfolio return is negative. Actual returns may be greater or less than those appearing in the table. The calculations in the table below are hypothetical and actual returns may be higher or lower than those appearing below.

 

 

 

Assumed Return on Our Portfolio

(net of expenses)

 

 

-10%

 

-5%

 

0%

 

5%

 

10%

Corresponding return to stockholder (1)

 

-20.22%

 

-11.34%

 

-2.47%

 

6.40%

 

15.28%

 

(1)

Assumes, as of December 31, 2017, (i) $1.7 billion in total assets, (ii) $716.8 million in outstanding indebtedness, (iii) $969.3 million in net assets and (iv) annualized interest cost of 3.34%, under the terms of our debt.

Our indebtedness could adversely affect our business, financial conditions or results of operations.

We cannot assure you that our business will generate sufficient cash flow from operations or that future borrowings will be available to us under our credit facilities or otherwise in an amount sufficient to enable us to pay our indebtedness or to fund our other liquidity needs. We may need to refinance all or a portion of our indebtedness on or before it matures. We cannot assure you that we will be able to refinance any of our indebtedness on commercially reasonable terms or at all. If we cannot service our indebtedness, we may have to take actions such as selling assets or seeking additional equity. We cannot assure you that any such actions, if necessary, could be effected on commercially reasonable terms or at all, or on terms that would not be disadvantageous to our stockholders or on terms that would not require us to breach the terms and conditions of our existing or future debt agreements.

Legislation may allow us to incur additional leverage.

As a BDC, under the 1940 Act we generally are not permitted to incur borrowings, issue debt securities or issue preferred stock unless immediately after the borrowing or issuance the ratio of total assets (less total liabilities other than indebtedness) to total indebtedness plus preferred stock is at least 200%. Legislation introduced in congress, if passed, would modify this section of the 1940 Act and increase the amount of debt that BDCs may incur by modifying the asset coverage percentage from 200% to 150%. As a result, we may be able to incur additional indebtedness in the future and you may face increased investment risk. In addition, since our Management Fee is calculated as a percentage of the value of our gross assets, which includes cash, cash equivalents and any borrowings for investment purposes, our Management Fee expenses will increase if we incur additional indebtedness.

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We operate in a highly competitive market for investment opportunities.

Other public and private entities, including commercial banks, commercial financing companies, other BDCs and insurance companies compete with us to make the types of investments that we make in middle-market companies. Certain of these competitors may be substantially larger, have considerably greater financial, technical and marketing resources than we have and offer a wider array of financial services. For example, some competitors may have a lower cost of funds and access to funding sources that are not available to us. In addition, some of our competitors may have higher risk tolerances or different risk assessments, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of investments and establish more relationships. We may lose investment opportunities if we do not match our competitors’ pricing, terms and structure. If we match our competitors’ pricing, terms and structure, however, we may experience decreased net interest income and increased risk of credit loss.

In addition, many competitors are not subject to the regulatory restrictions that the 1940 Act imposes on us as a BDC or the restrictions that the Code imposes on us as a RIC. As a result, we face additional constraints on our operations, which may put us at a competitive disadvantage. As a result of this existing and potentially increasing competition, we may not be able to take advantage of attractive investment opportunities and we cannot assure you that we will be able to identify and make investments that are consistent with our investment objective. The competitive pressures we face could have a material adverse effect on our ability to achieve our investment objective.

If we are unable to source investments, access financing or manage future growth effectively, we may be unable to achieve our investment objective.

Our ability to achieve our investment objective depends on our Investment Team’s ability to identify, evaluate, finance and invest in suitable companies that meet our investment criteria. Accomplishing this result on a cost-effective basis is largely a function of our marketing capabilities, our management of the investment process, our ability to provide efficient services and our access to financing sources on acceptable terms, including equity financing. Moreover, our ability to structure investments may also depend upon the participation of other prospective investors. For example, our ability to offer loans above a certain size and to structure loans in a certain way may depend on our ability to partner with other investors. As a result, we could fail to capture some investment opportunities if we cannot provide “one-stop” financing to a potential portfolio company either alone or with other investment partners.

In addition to monitoring the performance of our existing investments, members of our Investment Team may also be called upon to provide managerial assistance to our portfolio companies. These demands on their time may distract them or slow the rate of investment. To grow, our Adviser may need to hire, train, supervise and manage new employees. Failure to manage our future growth effectively could have a material adverse effect on our growth prospects and ability to achieve our investment objective.

Even in the event the value of your investment declines, the Management Fee and, in certain circumstances, the Incentive Fee will still be payable to the Adviser.

Even in the event the value of your investment declines, the Management Fee and, in certain circumstances, the Incentive Fee will still be payable to the Adviser. The Management Fee is calculated as a percentage of the value of our gross assets at a specific time, which would include any borrowings for investment purposes, and may give our Adviser an incentive to use leverage to make additional investments. In addition, the Management Fee is payable regardless of whether the value of our gross assets or your investment have decreased. The use of increased leverage may increase the likelihood of default, which would disfavor holders of our common stock, including investors in offerings of common stock pursuant to this Annual Report. Given the subjective nature of the investment decisions that our Adviser will make on our behalf, we may not be able to monitor this potential conflict of interest.

The Incentive Fee is calculated as a percentage of pre-Incentive Fee net investment income. Since pre-Incentive Fee net investment income does not include any realized capital gains, realized capital losses or unrealized capital appreciation or depreciation, it is possible that we may pay an Incentive Fee in a quarter in which we incur a loss. For example, if we receive pre-Incentive Fee net investment income in excess of the quarterly minimum hurdle rate, we will pay the applicable Incentive Fee even if we have incurred a loss in that quarter due to realized and unrealized capital losses. In addition, because the quarterly minimum hurdle rate is calculated based on our net assets, decreases in our net assets due to realized or unrealized capital losses in any given quarter may increase the likelihood that the hurdle rate is reached in that quarter and, as a result, that an Incentive Fee is paid for that quarter. Our net investment income used to calculate this component of the Incentive Fee is also included in the amount of our gross assets used to calculate the Management Fee.

Also, one component of the Incentive Fee is calculated annually based upon our realized capital gains, computed net of realized capital losses and unrealized capital depreciation on a cumulative basis. As a result, we may owe the Adviser an Incentive Fee during one year as a result of realized capital gains on certain investments, and then incur significant realized capital losses and unrealized capital depreciation on the remaining investments in our portfolio during subsequent years. Incentive Fees earned in prior years cannot be clawed back even if we later incur losses.

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In addition, the Incentive Fee payable by us to the Adviser may create an incentive for the Adviser to make investments on our behalf that are risky or more speculative than would be the case in the absence of such a compensation arrangement. The Adviser receives the Incentive Fee based, in part, upon capital gains realized on our investments. Unlike the portion of the Incentive Fee that is based on income, there is no hurdle rate applicable to the portion of the Incentive Fee based on capital gains. As a result, the Adviser may have an incentive to invest more in companies whose securities are likely to yield capital gains, as compared to income-producing investments. Such a practice could result in our making more speculative investments than would otherwise be the case, which could result in higher investment losses, particularly during cyclical economic downturns.

To the extent that we do not realize income or choose not to retain after-tax realized net capital gains, we will have a greater need for additional capital to fund our investments and operating expenses.

To maintain our status as a RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we must distribute (or be treated as distributing) in each taxable year dividends for tax purposes equal to at least 90% of our investment company taxable income and net tax-exempt income for that taxable year, and may either distribute or retain our realized net capital gains from investments. Unless investors elect to reinvest dividends, earnings that we are required to distribute to stockholders will not be available to fund future investments. Accordingly, we may have insufficient funds to make new and follow-on investments, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Because of the structure and objectives of our business, we may experience operating losses and expect to rely on proceeds from sales of investments, rather than on interest and dividend income, to pay our operating expenses. We cannot assure you that we will be able to sell our investments and thereby fund our operating expenses.

We will be subject to corporate-level U.S. federal income tax if we are unable to maintain our qualification as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code, including as a result of our failure to satisfy the RIC distribution requirements.

We will incur corporate-level U.S. federal income tax costs if we are unable to maintain our qualification as a RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes, including as a result of our failure to satisfy the RIC distribution requirements. Although we have elected to be treated as a RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we cannot assure you that we will be able to continue to qualify for and maintain RIC status. To maintain RIC status under the Code and to avoid corporate-level U.S. federal income tax, we must meet the following annual distribution, income source and asset diversification requirements:

 

We must distribute (or be treated as distributing) dividends for tax purposes in each taxable year equal to at least 90% of each of:

 

the sum of our net ordinary income and realized net short-term capital gains in excess of realized net long-term capital losses or, investment company taxable income, if any, for that taxable year; and

 

our net tax-exempt income for that taxable year.

The asset coverage ratio requirements under the 1940 Act and financial covenants under our loan and credit agreements could, under certain circumstances, restrict us from making distributions necessary to satisfy the distribution requirement. In addition, as discussed in more detail below, our income for tax purposes may exceed our available cash flow. If we are unable to obtain cash from other sources, we could fail to satisfy the distribution requirements that apply to a RIC. As a result, we could lose our RIC status and become subject to corporate-level U.S. federal income tax.

 

We must derive at least 90% of our gross income for each taxable year from dividends, interest, gains from the sale of or other disposition of stock or securities or similar sources.

 

We must meet specified asset diversification requirements at the end of each quarter of our taxable year. The need to satisfy these requirements to prevent the loss of RIC status may result in our having to dispose of certain investments quickly on unfavorable terms. Because most of our investments will be relatively illiquid, any such dispositions could be made at disadvantageous prices and could result in substantial losses.

If we fail to maintain our qualification for tax treatment as a RIC for any reason, the resulting U.S. federal income tax liability could substantially reduce our net assets, the amount of income available for distribution, and the amount of our distributions.

We can be expected to retain some income and capital gains in excess of what is permissible for excise tax purposes and such amounts will be subject to 4% U.S. federal excise tax.

As of December 31, 2017 and 2016, we elected to retain approximately $64 million and $52 million of taxable income and capital gains, respectively, in order to provide us with additional liquidity and we recorded an expense of $2.8 million and $2.2 million, respectively, for U.S. federal excise tax as a result. We can be expected to retain some income and capital gains in the future, including for purposes of providing us with additional liquidity, which amounts would similarly be subject to the 4% U.S. federal excise tax. In that event, we will be liable for the tax on the amount by which we do not meet the foregoing distribution requirement. See “ITEM 1. BUSINESS—Regulation as a Business Development Company—Regulated Investment Company Classification” for more information.

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Our Adviser and its affiliates, officers and employees may face certain conflicts of interest.

TSSP and TPG will refer all middle-market loan origination activities for companies domiciled in the United States to us and conduct those activities through us. The Adviser will determine whether it would be permissible, advisable or otherwise appropriate for us to pursue a particular investment opportunity allocated to us by TSSP and TPG. However, the Adviser, its officers and employees and members of its Investment Review Committee serve or may serve as investment advisers, officers, directors or principals of entities or investment funds that operate in the same or a related line of business as us or of investment funds managed by our affiliates. Accordingly, these individuals may have obligations to investors in those entities or funds, the fulfillment of which might not be in our best interests or the best interests of our stockholders.

In addition, any affiliated investment vehicle currently formed or formed in the future and managed by the Adviser or its affiliates, particularly in connection with any future growth of their respective businesses, may have overlapping investment objectives with our own and, accordingly, may invest in asset classes similar to those targeted by us. For example, TSSP has organized a separate investment vehicle, TSL Europe, aimed specifically at European middle-market loan originations and may in the future organize vehicles aimed at other loan origination opportunities outside our primary focus. Our ability to pursue investment opportunities other than middle-market loan originations for companies domiciled in the United States is subject to the contractual and other requirements of these other funds and allocation decisions by TSSP or TPG senior professionals. As a result, the Adviser and its affiliates may face conflicts in allocating investment opportunities between us and those other entities. It is possible that we may not be given the opportunity to participate in certain investments made by other TSSP or TPG vehicles that would otherwise be suitable for us.

If the Adviser and TPG were to determine that an investment is appropriate both for us and for one or more other TSSP or TPG vehicles, we would only be able to make the investment in conjunction with another vehicle to the extent the exemptive order granted to us by the SEC permits us to do so or the investment is otherwise permitted under relevant SEC guidance. On December 16, 2014, we were granted an exemptive order from the SEC that, if certain conditions are met, allows us to co-invest with affiliates of TSSP and TPG in middle-market loan origination activities for companies domiciled in the United States and certain “follow-on” investments in companies in which we have already co-invested pursuant to the order and remain invested. These conditions include, among others, prior approval by a majority of our Independent Directors and that the terms and conditions of the investment applicable to any affiliates of TSSP and TPG must be the same as those applicable to us. We cannot assure you when or whether we will apply for any other exemptive relief in the future and whether such orders will be obtained.

Our Adviser can resign on 60 days’ notice. We may not be able to find a suitable replacement within that time, resulting in a disruption in our operations and a loss of the benefits from our relationship with TSSP and TPG. Any new investment advisory agreement would require stockholder approval.

The Adviser has the right, under the Investment Advisory Agreement and the Administration Agreement, to resign at any time on 60 days’ written notice, regardless of whether we have found a replacement. In addition, our Board has the authority to remove the Adviser for any reason or for no reason, or may choose not to renew the Investment Advisory Agreement and the Administration Agreement. Furthermore, the Investment Advisory Agreement automatically terminates in the event of its assignment, as defined in the 1940 Act, by the Adviser. If the Adviser resigns or is terminated, or if we do not obtain the requisite approvals of stockholders and our Board to approve an agreement with the Adviser after an assignment, we may not be able to find a new investment adviser or hire internal management with similar expertise and ability to provide the same or equivalent services on acceptable terms within 60 days, or at all. If we are unable to do so quickly, our operations are likely to experience a disruption and costs under any new agreements that we enter into could increase. Our financial condition, business and results of operations, as well as our ability to pay dividends, are likely to be adversely affected, and the value of our common stock may decline.

Any new Investment Advisory Agreement would be subject to approval by our stockholders. Even if we are able to enter into comparable management or administrative arrangements, the integration of a new adviser or administrator and their lack of familiarity with our investment objective may result in additional costs and time delays that may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In addition, if the Adviser resigns or is terminated, we would lose the benefits of our relationship with TSSP and TPG, including insights into our existing portfolio, market expertise, sector and macroeconomic views and due diligence capabilities, as well as any investment opportunities referred to us by TSSP and TPG. We also would no longer be able to use TPG’s name and logo because our license agreement would terminate upon the termination of the Investment Advisory Agreement.

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The Adviser’s liability is limited under the Investment Advisory Agreement, and we are required to indemnify the Adviser against certain liabilities, which may lead the Adviser to act in a riskier manner on our behalf than it would when acting for its own account.

The Adviser has not assumed any responsibility to us other than to render the services described in the Investment Advisory Agreement, and it will not be responsible for any action of our Board in declining to follow the Adviser’s advice or recommendations. Pursuant to the Investment Advisory Agreement, the Adviser and its members, managers, officers, employees, agents, controlling persons and any other person or entity affiliated with it will not be liable to us for any action taken or omitted to be taken by the Adviser in connection with the performance of any of its duties or obligations under the Investment Advisory Agreement or otherwise as our investment adviser (except to the extent specified in Section 36(b) of the 1940 Act concerning loss resulting from a breach of fiduciary duty (as the same is finally determined by judicial proceedings) with respect to the receipt of compensation for services).

We have agreed to the fullest extent permitted by law, to provide indemnification and the right to the advancement of expenses, to each person who was or is made a party or is threatened to be made a party to or is involved (including as a witness) in any actual or threatened action, suit or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative, because he or she is or was a member, manager, officer, employee, agent, controlling person or any other person or entity affiliated with the Adviser with respect to all damages, liabilities, costs and expenses resulting from acts of the Adviser in the performance of the person’s duties under the Investment Advisory Agreement. Our obligation to provide indemnification and advancement of expenses is subject to the requirements of the 1940 Act and Investment Company Act Release No. 11330, which, among other things, preclude indemnification for any liability (whether or not there is an adjudication of liability or the matter has been settled) arising by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence, or reckless disregard of duties, and require reasonable and fair means for determining whether indemnification will be made. Despite these limitations, the rights to indemnification and advancement of expenses may lead the Adviser and its members, managers, officers, employees, agents, controlling persons and other persons and entities affiliated with the Adviser to act in a riskier manner than they would when acting for their own account.

Any failure to maintain our status as a BDC would reduce our operating flexibility.

If we do not remain a BDC, we might be regulated as a closed-end investment company under the 1940 Act, which would subject us to substantially more regulatory restrictions under the 1940 Act and correspondingly decrease our operating flexibility. In addition, failure to comply with the requirements imposed on BDCs by the 1940 Act could cause the SEC to bring an enforcement action against us.

We incur significant costs as a result of being a publicly traded company.

As a publicly traded company, we incur legal, accounting, investor relations and other expenses, including costs associated with corporate governance requirements, such as those under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, other rules implemented by the SEC and the listing standards of the NYSE. Our independent registered public accounting firm is required to attest to the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which increases the costs associated with our periodic reporting requirements.

We are obligated to maintain proper and effective internal control over financial reporting. We may not complete our analysis of our internal control over financial reporting in a timely manner, or our internal controls may not be determined to be effective, which may adversely affect investor confidence in our company and, as a result, the value of our securities.

We are required to comply with the independent auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Complying with Section 404 requires a rigorous compliance program as well as adequate time and resources. We may not be able to complete our internal control evaluation, testing and any required remediation in a timely fashion. Additionally, if we identify one or more material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, we will be unable to assert that our internal controls are effective. If we are unable to assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, or if our auditors are unable to attest to management’s report on the effectiveness of our internal controls, we could lose investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, which would have a material adverse effect on the price of our securities.

We may experience fluctuations in our quarterly results.

We may experience fluctuations in our quarterly operating results as a result of a number of factors, including the pace at which investments are made, rates of repayment, interest rates payable on investments, changes in realized and unrealized gains and losses, syndication and other fees, the level of our expenses and default rates on our investments. As a result of these and other possible factors, results for any period should not be relied upon as being indicative of performance in future periods.

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Provisions of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware and our certificate of incorporation and bylaws could deter takeover attempts and have an adverse effect on the price of our common stock.

The General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware, or the DGCL, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, which we refer to as our certificate of incorporation, and bylaws contain provisions that may discourage, delay or make more difficult a change in control of us or the removal of our directors. Among other provisions, we have a staggered board and our directors may be removed for cause only by the affirmative vote of 75% of the holders of our outstanding capital stock. Our Board also is authorized to issue preferred stock in one or more series. In addition, our certificate of incorporation requires the favorable vote of a majority of our Board followed by the favorable vote of the holders of at least 75% of our outstanding shares of common stock, to approve, adopt or authorize certain transactions, including mergers and the sale, lease or exchange of all or any substantial part of our assets with 10% or greater holders of our outstanding common stock and their affiliates or associates, unless the transaction has been approved by at least 80% of our Board, in which case approval by “a majority of the outstanding voting securities” (as defined in the 1940 Act) is required. Our certificate of incorporation further provides that stockholders may not take action by written consent in lieu of a meeting and our bylaws provide that any stockholder action required or permitted at an annual meeting or special meeting of stockholders may only be taken if it is properly brought before such meeting. These provisions may also discourage another person or entity from making a tender offer for our common stock, because such person or entity, even if it acquired a majority of our outstanding voting securities, would be able to take action as a stockholder (such as electing new directors or approving a merger) only at a duly called stockholders’ meeting and not by written consent. We also are subject to Section 203 of the DGCL, which generally prohibits us from engaging in mergers and other business combinations with stockholders that beneficially own 15% or more of our voting stock, or with their affiliates, unless our directors or stockholders approve the business combination in the prescribed manner. These measures may delay, defer or prevent a transaction or a change in control that might otherwise be in the best interests of our stockholders and could have the effect of depriving stockholders of an opportunity to sell their shares at a premium over prevailing market prices.

Certain investors are limited in their ability to make significant investments in us.

Investment companies registered under the 1940 Act are restricted from acquiring directly or through a controlled entity more than 3% of our total outstanding voting stock (measured at the time of the acquisition), unless these funds comply with an exemption under the 1940 Act as well as other limitations under the 1940 Act that would restrict the amount that they are able to invest in our securities. Private funds that are excluded from the definition of “investment company” either pursuant to Section 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act are also subject to this restriction. As a result, certain investors may be precluded from acquiring additional shares at a time that they might desire to do so.

We are highly dependent on information systems and systems failures could significantly disrupt our business, which may, in turn, negatively affect the market price of our common stock and our ability to pay dividends.

Our business is highly dependent on the communications and information systems of the Adviser, its affiliates and third parties. Any failure or interruption of those systems, including as a result of the termination of an agreement with any third-party service providers, could cause delays or other problems in our activities. Our financial, accounting, data processing, backup or other operating systems and facilities may fail to operate properly or become disabled or damaged as a result of a number of factors including events that are wholly or partially beyond our control and adversely affect our business. There could be:

 

sudden electrical or telecommunications outages;

 

natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes;

 

disease pandemics;

 

events arising from local or larger scale political or social matters, including terrorist acts; and

 

cyber-attacks.

These events, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our operating results and negatively affect the market price of our common stock and our ability to pay dividends to our stockholders.

Cybersecurity risks and cyber incidents may adversely affect our business by causing a disruption to our operations, a compromise or corruption of our confidential information and/or damage to our business relationships, all of which could negatively impact our business, results of operations or financial condition.

A cyber incident is considered to be any adverse event that threatens the confidentiality, integrity or availability of our information resources. These incidents may be an intentional attack or an unintentional event and could involve gaining unauthorized access to our information systems for purposes of misappropriating assets, stealing confidential information, corrupting data or causing operational disruption. The result of these incidents may include disrupted operations, misstated or unreliable financial data, liability for stolen

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information, misappropriation of assets, increased cybersecurity protection and insurance costs, litigation and damage to our business relationships. This could result in significant losses, reputational damage, litigation, regulatory fines or penalties, or otherwise adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations. In addition, we may be required to expend significant additional resources to modify our protective measures and to investigate and remediate vulnerabilities or other exposures arising from operational and security risks. We face risks posed to our information systems, both internal and those provided to us by third-party service providers. We, our Adviser and its affiliates have implemented processes, procedures and internal controls to help mitigate cybersecurity risks and cyber intrusions, but these measures, as well as our increased awareness of the nature and extent of a risk of a cyber incident, may be ineffective and do not guarantee that a cyber incident will not occur or that our financial results, operations or confidential information will not be negatively impacted by such an incident.

Third parties with which we do business (including those that provide services to us) may also be sources or targets of cybersecurity or other technological risks. We outsource certain functions and these relationships allow for the storage and processing of our information and assets, as well as certain investor, counterparty, employee and borrower information. While we engage in actions to reduce our exposure resulting from outsourcing, ongoing threats may result in unauthorized access, loss, exposure or destruction of data, or other cybersecurity incidents, with increased costs and other consequences, including those described above. Privacy and information security laws and regulation changes, and compliance with those changes, may also result in cost increases due to system changes and the development of new administrative processes.

Our Board may change our investment objective, operating policies and strategies without prior notice or stockholder approval.

Our Board has the authority to change our investment objective and modify or waive certain of our operating policies and strategies without prior notice (except as required by the 1940 Act) and without stockholder approval. However, absent stockholder approval, we may not change the nature of our business so as to cease to be a BDC and we may not withdraw our election as a BDC. We cannot predict the effect any changes to our current operating policies or strategies would have on our business, operating results and value of our common stock. Nevertheless, the effects may adversely affect our business and impact our ability to pay dividends.

Changes in laws or regulations governing our operations may adversely affect our business.

 

We and our portfolio companies are subject to regulation by laws and regulations at the local, state, federal and, in some cases, foreign levels. These laws and regulations, as well as their interpretation, may be changed from time to time, and new laws and regulations may be enacted. Accordingly, any change in these laws or regulations, changes in their interpretation, or newly enacted laws or regulations and any failure by us or our portfolio companies to comply with these laws or regulations, could require changes to certain business practices of us or our portfolio companies, negatively impact the operations, cash flows or financial condition of us or our portfolio companies, impose additional costs on us or our portfolio companies or otherwise adversely affect our business or the business of our portfolio companies. In particular, changes to the laws and regulations governing BDCs or the interpretation of these laws and regulations by the staff of the SEC could disrupt our business model. For example, tax reform legislation could have an adverse impact on us, the credit markets and our portfolio companies, to the extent the reduction in corporate tax rates or limitations on interest expense impact the credit markets and our portfolio companies. Any changes to the laws and regulations governing our operations or the U.S. federal income tax treatment of our assets may cause us to alter our investment strategy to avail ourselves of new or different opportunities. For more information on tax regulatory risks, see “Risks Related to our Portfolio Company Investments.

On July 21, 2010, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, or the Dodd-Frank Act, was signed into law. Some of the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act have been implemented, while others have extended implementation periods and delayed effective dates and will require extensive rulemaking by regulatory authorities, and uncertainty remains about the details of implementation. While the full impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on us and our portfolio companies may not be known for an extended period of time, the Dodd-Frank Act, including current rules and regulations and proposed rules implementing its provisions and the interpretation of those rules, along with other legislative and regulatory proposals directed at the financial services industry that are proposed or pending in the U.S. Congress, as well as the uncertainty surrounding such rules and proposals may negatively impact the operations, cash flows or financial condition of us or our portfolio companies, impose additional costs on us or our portfolio companies, intensify the regulatory supervision of us or our portfolio companies or otherwise adversely affect our business or the business of our portfolio companies.

On June 8, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Financial Choice Act, which includes legislation intended to repeal or replace substantial portions of the Dodd-Frank Act. Among other things, the proposed law would repeal the Volcker Rule limiting certain proprietary investment and trading activities by banks, eliminate the authority of regulators to designate asset managers and other large non-bank institutions as “systemically important financial institutions” or “SIFIs,” and repeal the Department of Labor (“DOL”) “fiduciary rule” governing standards for dealing with retirement plans until the SEC issues standards for similar dealings by broker dealers and limiting the substance of any subsequent DOL rule to the SEC standards. The bill has been referred to the Senate, where it is unlikely to pass in its current form. On November 16, 2017, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators, led by the Senate Banking

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Committee Chairman, introduced the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (the “Senate Regulatory Relief Bill”). The Senate Regulatory Relief Bill would revise various post-crisis regulatory requirements and provide targeted regulatory relief to certain financial institutions. Among the most significant of its proposed amendments to the Dodd-Frank Act are a substantial increase in the $50 billion asset threshold for automatic regulation of bank holding companies as SIFIs, an exemption from the Volcker Rule for insured depository institutions with less than $10 billion in consolidated assets and lower levels of trading assets and liabilities, as well as amendments to the liquidity leverage ratio and supplementary leverage ratio requirements. On December 5, 2017, the Senate Banking Committee approved the Senate Regulatory Relief Bill. If the legislation is adopted in the Senate, it remains unclear whether and how it would be reconciled with its House-passed counterpart, the Financial Choice Act, which is substantially different in scope and substance, and ultimately approved by both chambers of Congress. At this time it is unclear what impact the Financial Choice Act, the Senate Regulatory Relief Bill or other pending legislation and developments will have on regulations that affect our, our competitors’ and our portfolio companies’ businesses.

Over the last several years, there has been an increase in regulatory attention to the extension of credit outside of the traditional banking sector, raising the possibility that some portion of the non-bank financial sector will be subject to new regulation. While it cannot be known at this time whether these regulations will be implemented or what form they will take, increased regulation of non-bank credit extension could negatively impact our operations, cash flows or financial condition, impose additional costs on us, intensify the regulatory supervision of us or otherwise adversely affect our business.

The interest rates of our debt investments to our portfolio companies and our indebtedness that extend beyond 2021 might be subject to change based on recent regulatory changes.

LIBOR, the London Interbank Offered Rate, is the basic rate of interest used in lending transactions between banks on the London interbank market and is widely used as a reference for setting the interest rate on loans globally. We typically use LIBOR as a reference rate in term loans we extend to portfolio companies such that the interest due to us pursuant to a term loan extended to a portfolio company is calculated using LIBOR. The terms of our debt investments generally include minimum interest rate floors which are calculated based on LIBOR. Amounts drawn under the Revolving Credit Facility also currently bear interest at LIBOR plus a margin.

On July 27, 2017, the United Kingdom's Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates LIBOR, announced that it intends to phase out LIBOR by the end of 2021. It is unclear if at that time LIBOR will cease to exist or if new methods of calculating LIBOR will be established such that it continues to exist after 2021. The U.S. Federal Reserve, in conjunction with the Alternative Reference Rates Committee, a steering committee comprised of large U.S. financial institutions, is considering replacing U.S. dollar LIBOR with a new index calculated by short term repurchase agreements, backed by Treasury securities. The future of LIBOR at this time is uncertain. If LIBOR ceases to exist, we may need to renegotiate the credit agreements extending beyond 2021 with our portfolio companies that utilize LIBOR as a factor in determining the interest rate, in order to replace LIBOR with the new standard that is established, which may have an adverse effect on our ability to receive attractive returns.

In addition, if LIBOR ceases to exist, we may need to renegotiate certain terms of our Revolving Credit Facility. If we are unable to do so, amounts drawn under the Revolving Credit Facility may bear interest at a higher rate, which would increase the cost of our borrowings and, in turn, affect our return on capital.

Recently enacted tax reform legislation may adversely affect our business.

Recently enacted legislation has made significant changes to the U.S. federal income tax system.  Among other things, the legislation may limit the ability of borrowers to fully deduct interest expense.  This could potentially affect the loan market, for example by impacting the demand for loans available from us or the terms of such loans.  The changes to interest deductibility, utility of net operating losses and other provisions of the legislation could also in certain circumstances increase the U.S. tax burden on our portfolio assets which, in turn, could negatively impact their ability to service their interest expense obligations to us.  Prospective investors are urged to consult with their own advisors about the potential effects of this legislation on the loan market and about its tax consequences of an investment in us.

Risks Related to Economic Conditions

The current state of the economy and financial markets increases the likelihood of adverse effects on our financial position and results of operations.

The U.S. capital markets experienced extreme volatility and disruption in recent years, leading to recessionary conditions and depressed levels of consumer and commercial spending. For instance, the referendum by British voters to exit the European Union (“Brexit”) in June 2016 and the United Kingdom’s subsequent invocation of Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union in March 2017 have led to disruption and instability in the global markets. Disruptions in the capital markets increased the spread between the

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yields realized on risk-free and higher risk securities, resulting in illiquidity in parts of the capital markets. Although recent indicators suggest improvement in the capital markets, we cannot assure you that these conditions will not worsen. If conditions worsen, a prolonged period of market illiquidity could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Unfavorable economic conditions also could increase our funding costs, limit our access to the capital markets or result in a decision by lenders not to extend credit to us. These events could limit our investment originations, limit our ability to grow and negatively impact our operating results.

In addition, to the extent that recessionary conditions return, the financial results of small to mid-sized companies, like those in which we invest, will likely experience deterioration, which could ultimately lead to difficulty in meeting debt service requirements and an increase in defaults. Additionally, the end markets for certain of our portfolio companies’ products and services have experienced, and continue to experience, negative economic trends. The performances of certain of our portfolio companies have been, and may continue to be, negatively impacted by these economic or other conditions, which may ultimately result in:

 

our receipt of a reduced level of interest income from our portfolio companies;

 

decreases in the value of collateral securing some of our loans and the value of our equity investments; and

 

ultimately, losses or charge-offs related to our investments.

Uncertainty about financial stability could have a significant adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Due to federal budget deficit concerns, S&P downgraded the federal government’s credit rating from AAA to AA+ for the first time in history on August 5, 2011. Further, Moody’s and Fitch warned that they may downgrade the federal government’s credit rating. Further downgrades or warnings by S&P or other rating agencies, and the government’s credit and deficit concerns in general, could cause interest rates and borrowing costs to rise, which may negatively impact both the perception of credit risk associated with our debt portfolio and our ability to access the debt markets on favorable terms. In addition, a decreased credit rating could create broader financial turmoil and uncertainty, which may weigh heavily on our financial performance and the value of our common stock. Also, to the extent uncertainty regarding any economic recovery in Europe and Brexit continue to negatively impact consumer confidence and consumer credit factors, our business and results of operations could be significantly and adversely affected.

In October 2014, the Federal Reserve announced that it was concluding its bond-buying program, or quantitative easing, which was designed to stimulate the economy and expand the Federal Reserve’s holdings of long-term securities, suggesting that key economic indicators, such as the unemployment rate, had showed signs of improvement since the inception of the program. It is unclear what effect, if any, the conclusion of the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying program will have on the value of our investments. However, it is possible that, without quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve, these developments, along with the United States government’s credit and deficit concerns and the European sovereign debt crisis, could cause interest rates and borrowing costs to rise, which may negatively impact our ability to access the debt markets on favorable terms. Additionally, in late 2016 and three times in 2017, the Federal Reserve raised the target range for the federal funds rate. If key economic indicators, such as the unemployment rate or inflation, continue to show signs of improvement, the target range for the federal funds rate may further increase and cause interest rates and borrowing costs to rise, which may negatively impact our ability to access the debt markets on favorable terms.

As a result of the 2016 U.S. election, the Republican Party currently controls both the executive and legislative branches of government, which increases the likelihood that legislation may be adopted that could significantly affect the regulation of U.S. financial markets. Areas subject to potential change, amendment or repeal include the Dodd-Frank Act and the authority of the Federal Reserve and the Financial Stability Oversight Council. These or other regulatory changes could result in greater competition from banks and other lenders with which we compete for lending and other investment opportunities. The United States may also potentially withdraw from or renegotiate various trade agreements and take other actions that would change current trade policies of the United States. We cannot predict which, if any, of these actions will be taken or, if taken, their effect on the financial stability of the United States. Such actions could have a significant adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Economic recessions or downturns could impair our portfolio companies and harm our operating results.

Many of the portfolio companies in which we make investments may be susceptible to economic slowdowns or recessions and during these periods may be unable to repay the loans we made to them. Therefore, our non-performing assets may increase and the value of our portfolio may decrease during these periods as we are required to record our investments at their current fair value. Adverse economic conditions also may decrease the value of collateral securing some of our loans and the value of our equity investments. Economic slowdowns or recessions could lead to financial losses in our portfolio and a decrease in revenues, net income and assets. Unfavorable economic conditions also could increase our and our portfolio companies’ funding costs, limit our and our portfolio companies’ access to the capital markets or result in a decision by lenders not to extend credit to us or our portfolio companies. These events could prevent us from increasing investments and harm our operating results.

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A portfolio company’s failure to satisfy financial or operating covenants imposed by us or other lenders could lead to defaults and, potentially, acceleration of the time when the loans are due and foreclosure on its secured assets, which could trigger cross-defaults under other agreements and jeopardize the portfolio company’s ability to meet its obligations under the debt that we hold. We may incur additional expenses to the extent necessary to seek recovery upon default or to negotiate new terms with a defaulting portfolio company. In addition, if one of our portfolio companies were to go bankrupt, depending on the facts and circumstances, including the extent to which we will actually provide significant managerial assistance to that portfolio company, a bankruptcy court might subordinate all or a portion of our claim to that of other creditors.

Risks Related to Our Portfolio Company Investments

Our investments are very risky and highly speculative.

We primarily invest in first-lien debt, second-lien debt, mezzanine and unsecured debt or equity or other securities issued by middle-market companies. The companies in which we intend to invest are typically highly leveraged, and, in most cases, our investments in these companies are not rated by any rating agency. If these instruments were rated, we believe that they would likely receive a rating of below investment grade (that is, below BBB- or Baa3, which is often referred to as “junk”). Exposure to below investment grade instruments involves certain risks, including speculation with respect to the borrower’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal.

First-Lien Debt. When we make a first-lien loan, we generally take a security interest in the available assets of the portfolio company, including the equity interests of its subsidiaries, which we expect to help mitigate the risk that we will not be repaid. However, there is a risk that the collateral securing our loans may decrease in value over time, may be difficult to sell in a timely manner, may be difficult to appraise, and may fluctuate in value based upon the success of the business and market conditions, including as a result of the inability of the portfolio company to raise additional capital. In some circumstances, our lien is, or could become, subordinated to claims of other creditors. Consequently, the fact that a loan is secured does not guarantee that we will receive principal and interest payments according to the loan’s terms, or at all, or that we will be able to collect on the loan should we need to enforce our remedies. In addition, in connection with our “last out” first-lien loans, we enter into agreements among lenders. Under these agreements, our interest in the collateral of the first-lien loans may rank junior to those of other lenders in the loan under certain circumstances. This may result in greater risk and loss of principal on these loans.

Second-Lien and Mezzanine Debt. Our investments in second-lien and mezzanine debt generally are subordinated to senior loans and will either have junior security interests or be unsecured. As such, other creditors may rank senior to us in the event of insolvency. This may result in greater risk and loss of principal.

Equity and Other Investments. When we invest in first-lien debt, second-lien debt or mezzanine debt, we may acquire equity securities, such as warrants, options and convertible instruments. In addition, we may invest directly in the equity securities of portfolio companies. We seek to dispose of these equity interests and realize gains upon our disposition of these interests. However, the equity interests we receive may not appreciate in value and, in fact, may decline in value. Accordingly, we may not be able to realize gains from our equity interests, and any gains that we do realize on the disposition of any equity interests may not be sufficient to offset any other losses we experience.

Preferred Stock. To the extent we invest in preferred securities, we may incur particular risks, including:

 

preferred securities may include provisions that permit the issuer, at its discretion, to defer distributions for a stated period without any adverse consequences to the issuer. If we own a preferred security that is deferring its distributions, we may be required to report income for U.S. federal income tax purposes before we receive such distributions;

 

preferred securities are subordinated to bonds and other debt instruments in a company’s capital structure in terms of priority to corporate income and liquidation payments, and therefore are subject to greater credit risk than more senior debt instruments; and

 

generally, preferred security holders have no voting rights with respect to the issuing company unless preferred dividends have been in arrears for a specified number of periods, at which time the preferred security holders may elect a number of directors to the issuer’s board; generally, once all the arrearages have been paid, the preferred security holders no longer have voting rights.

In addition, our investments generally involve a number of significant risks, including:

 

the companies in which we invest may have limited financial resources and may be unable to meet their obligations under their debt securities that we hold, which may be accompanied by a deterioration in the value of any collateral and a reduction in the likelihood of us realizing any guarantees we may have obtained in connection with our investment;

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the companies in which we invest typically have shorter operating histories, narrower product lines and smaller market shares than larger businesses, which tend to render them more vulnerable to competitors’ actions and market conditions, as well as general economic downturns;

 

the companies in which we invest are more likely to depend on the management talents and efforts of a small group of persons; therefore, the death, disability, resignation or termination of one or more of these persons could have a material adverse impact on our portfolio company and, in turn, on us;

 

the companies in which we invest generally have less predictable operating results, may be engaged in rapidly changing businesses with products subject to a substantial risk of obsolescence, and may require substantial additional capital to support their operations, finance expansion or maintain their competitive position;

 

the debt investments in our portfolio generally have a significant portion of principal due at the maturity of the investment, which would result in a substantial loss to us if such borrowers are unable to refinance or repay their debt at maturity;  

 

our executive officers, directors and Adviser may, in the ordinary course of business, be named as defendants in litigation arising from our investments in the portfolio companies;

 

the companies in which we invest generally have less publicly available information about their businesses, operations and financial condition and, if we are unable to uncover all material information about these companies, we may not make a fully informed investment decision; and

 

the companies in which we invest may have difficulty accessing the capital markets to meet future capital needs, which may limit their ability to grow or to repay their outstanding indebtedness upon maturity.

The value of most of our portfolio securities will not have a readily available market price and we value these securities at fair value as determined in good faith by our Board, which valuation is inherently subjective, may not reflect what we may actually realize for the sale of the investment and could result in a conflict of interest with the Adviser.

Investments are valued at the end of each fiscal quarter. The majority of our investments are expected to be in loans that do not have readily ascertainable market prices. The fair value of investments that are not publicly traded or whose market prices are not readily available are determined in good faith by the Board, which is supported by the valuation committee of our Adviser and by the audit committee of our Board. The Board has retained independent third-party valuation firms to perform certain limited third-party valuation services that the Board identified and requested them to perform. In accordance with our valuation policy, our Investment Team prepares portfolio company valuations using sources or proprietary models depending on the availability of information on our investments and the type of asset being valued. The participation of the Adviser in our valuation process could result in a conflict of interest, since the Management Fee is based on the value of our gross assets.

Factors that we may consider in determining the fair value of our investments include the nature and realizable value of any collateral, the portfolio company’s earnings and its ability to make payments on its indebtedness, the markets in which the portfolio company does business, comparison to similar publicly traded companies, discounted cash flow and other relevant factors. Because fair valuations, and particularly fair valuations of private securities and private companies, are inherently uncertain, may fluctuate over short periods of time and are often based to a large extent on estimates, comparisons and qualitative evaluations of private information, our determinations of fair value may differ materially from the values that would have been determined if a ready market for these securities existed. This could make it more difficult for investors to value accurately our portfolio investments and could lead to undervaluation or overvaluation of our common stock. In addition, the valuation of these types of securities may result in substantial write-downs and earnings volatility.

Decreases in the market values or fair values of our investments are recorded as unrealized depreciation. The effect of all of these factors on our portfolio can reduce our net asset value by increasing net unrealized depreciation in our portfolio. Depending on market conditions, we could incur substantial realized losses and may suffer unrealized losses, which could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The lack of liquidity in our investments may adversely affect our business.

We generally make loans to private companies. There may not be a ready market for our loans and certain loans may contain transfer restrictions, which may also limit liquidity. The illiquidity of these investments may make it difficult for us to sell positions if the need arises. In addition, if we are required to liquidate all or a portion of our portfolio quickly, we may realize significantly less than the value at which we had previously recorded these investments. In addition, we may face other restrictions on our ability to liquidate an investment in a portfolio company to the extent that we hold a significant portion of a company’s equity or if we have material nonpublic information regarding that company.

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Our portfolio may be focused on a limited number of portfolio companies or industries, which will subject us to a risk of significant loss if any of these companies defaults on its obligations under any of its debt instruments or if there is a downturn in a particular industry.

Our portfolio is currently invested in a limited number of portfolio companies and industries and may continue to be in the near future. Beyond the asset diversification requirements associated with our qualification as a RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we do not have fixed guidelines for diversification. While we are not targeting any specific industries, our investments may be focused on relatively few industries. For example, although we classify the industries of our portfolio companies by end-market (such as healthcare, and business services) and not by the products or services (such as software) directed to those end-markets, many of our portfolio companies principally provide software products or services, which exposes us to downturns in that sector. As a result, the aggregate returns we realize may be significantly adversely affected if a small number of investments perform poorly or if we need to write down the value of any one investment. Additionally, a downturn in any particular industry in which we are invested could significantly affect our aggregate returns.

We may securitize certain of our investments, which may subject us to certain structured financing risks.

Although we have not done so to date, we may securitize certain of our investments in the future, including through the formation of one or more collateralized loan obligations, or CLOs, while retaining all or most of the exposure to the performance of these investments. This would involve contributing a pool of assets to a special purpose entity, and selling debt interests in that entity on a non-recourse or limited-recourse basis to purchasers.

If we were to create a CLO or other securitization vehicle, we would depend on distributions from the vehicle to pay dividends to our stockholders. The ability of a CLO or other securitization vehicle to make distributions will be subject to various limitations, including the terms and covenants of the debt it issues. For example, tests (based on interest coverage or other financial ratios or other criteria) may restrict our ability, as holder of a CLO or other securitization vehicle equity interest, to receive cash flow from these investments. We cannot assure you that any such performance tests would be satisfied. Also, a CLO or other securitization vehicle may take actions that delay distributions to preserve ratings and to keep the cost of present and future financings lower or the financing vehicle may be obligated to retain cash or other assets to satisfy over-collateralization requirements commonly provided for holders of its debt. As a result, there may be a lag, which could be significant, between the repayment or other realization on a loan or other assets in, and the distribution of cash out of, a CLO or other securitization vehicle, or cash flow may be completely restricted for the life of the CLO or other securitization vehicle.

In addition, a decline in the credit quality of loans in a CLO or other securitization vehicle due to poor operating results of the relevant borrower, declines in the value of loan collateral or increases in defaults, among other things, may force the sale of certain assets at a loss, reducing their earnings and, in turn, cash potentially available for distribution to us for distribution to our stockholders. If we were to form a CLO or other securitization vehicle, to the extent that any losses were incurred by the financing vehicle in respect of any collateral, these losses would be borne first by us as owners of its equity interests. Any equity interests that we were to retain in a CLO or other securitization vehicle would not be secured by its assets and we would rank behind all of its creditors.

A CLO or other securitization vehicle, if created, also would likely be consolidated in our financial statements and consequently affect our asset coverage ratio, which may limit our ability to incur additional leverage. See “ITEM 1. BUSINESS – Regulation as a Business Development Company.”  

Because we generally do not hold controlling interests in our portfolio companies, we may not be in a position to exercise control over those portfolio companies or prevent decisions by management of those portfolio companies that could decrease the value of our investments.

We are a lender, and loans (and any equity investments we make) typically will be non-controlling investments, meaning we will not be in a position to control the management, operation and strategic decision-making of the companies we invest in (outside of, potentially, the context of a restructuring, insolvency or similar event). As a result, we will be subject to the risk that a portfolio company we do not control, or in which we do not have a majority ownership position, may make business decisions with which we disagree, and the equityholders and management of such a portfolio company may take risks or otherwise act in ways that are adverse to our interests. We may not be able to dispose of our investments in the event that we disagree with the actions of a portfolio company, and may therefore suffer a decrease in the value of our investments.

We are exposed to risks associated with changes in interest rates.

The majority of our debt investments are based on floating rates, such as LIBOR, EURIBOR, the Federal Funds Rate or the Prime Rate. General interest rate fluctuations may have a substantial negative impact on our investments, the value of our common stock and our rate of return on invested capital. On one hand, a reduction in the interest rates on new investments relative to interest rates on

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current investments could have an adverse impact on our net interest income, which also could be negatively impacted by our borrowers making prepayments on their loans. On the other hand, an increase in interest rates could increase the interest repayment obligations of our borrowers and result in challenges to their financial performance and ability to repay their obligations.

An increase in interest rates could also decrease the value of any investments we hold that earn fixed interest rates, including subordinated loans, senior and junior secured and unsecured debt securities and loans and high yield bonds, and also could increase our interest expense, thereby decreasing our net income. Moreover, an increase in interest rates available to investors could make investment in our common stock less attractive if we are not able to increase our dividend rate, which could reduce the value of our common stock. Federal Reserve policy, including with respect to certain interest rates and the decision to end its quantitative easing policy, may also adversely affect the value, volatility and liquidity of dividend- and interest-paying securities. Market volatility, rising interest rates and/or a return to unfavorable economic conditions could adversely affect our business. See “—Risks Related to Economic Conditions—Uncertainty about financial stability could have a significant adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

A rise in the general level of interest rates typically leads to higher interest rates applicable to our debt investments. Accordingly, an increase in interest rates may result in an increase in the amount of the Incentive Fee payable to the Adviser.

We may use interest rate risk management techniques in an effort to limit our exposure to interest rate fluctuations. These techniques may include various interest rate hedging activities to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act. See “—Risks Related to Our Portfolio Company Investments—We expose ourselves to risks when we engage in hedging transactions.

We may not be able to realize expected returns on our invested capital.

We may not realize expected returns on our investment in a portfolio company due to changes in the portfolio company’s financial position or due to an acquisition of the portfolio company. If a portfolio company repays our loans prior to their maturity, we may not receive our expected returns on our invested capital. Many of our investments are structured to provide a disincentive for the borrower to pre-pay or call the security, but this call protection may not cover the full expected value of an investment if that investment is repaid prior to maturity.

Middle-market companies operate in a highly acquisitive market with frequent mergers and buyouts. If a portfolio company is acquired or merged with another company prior to drawing on our commitment, we would not realize our expected return. Similarly, in many cases companies will seek to restructure or repay their debt investments or buy our other equity ownership positions as part of an acquisition or merger transaction, which may result in a repayment of debt or other reduction of our investment.

By originating loans to companies that are experiencing significant financial or business difficulties, we may be exposed to distressed lending risks.

As part of our lending activities, we may originate loans to companies that are experiencing significant financial or business difficulties, including companies involved in bankruptcy or other reorganization and liquidation proceedings. Although the terms of such financing may result in significant financial returns to us, they involve a substantial degree of risk. The level of analytical sophistication, both financial and legal, necessary for successful financing to companies experiencing significant business and financial difficulties is unusually high. We cannot assure you that we will correctly evaluate the value of the assets collateralizing our loans or the prospects for a successful reorganization or similar action. In any reorganization or liquidation proceeding relating to a company that we fund, we may lose all or part of the amounts advanced to the borrower or may be required to accept collateral with a value less than the amount of the loan advanced by us to the borrower.

Our portfolio companies in some cases may incur debt or issue equity securities that rank equally with, or senior to, our investments in those companies.

Our portfolio companies may have, or may be permitted to incur, other debt, or issue other equity securities that rank equally with, or senior to, our investments. By their terms, those instruments may provide that the holders are entitled to receive payment of dividends, interest or principal on or before the dates on which we are entitled to receive payments in respect of our investments. These debt instruments would usually prohibit the portfolio companies from paying interest on or repaying our investments in the event and during the continuance of a default under the debt. Also, in the event of insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or bankruptcy of a portfolio company, holders of securities ranking senior to our investment in that portfolio company typically would be entitled to receive payment in full before we receive any distribution in respect of our investment. After repaying those holders, the portfolio company may not have any remaining assets to use for repaying its obligation to us. In the case of securities ranking equally with our investments, we would have to share on an equal basis any distributions with other security holders in the event of an insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or bankruptcy of the relevant portfolio company.

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The rights we may have with respect to the collateral securing certain loans we make to our portfolio companies may also be limited pursuant to the terms of one or more intercreditor agreements or agreements among lenders. Under these agreements, we may forfeit certain rights with respect to the collateral to holders with prior claims. These rights may include the right to commence enforcement proceedings against the collateral, the right to control the conduct of those enforcement proceedings, the right to approve amendments to collateral documents, the right to release liens on the collateral and the right to waive past defaults under collateral documents. We may not have the ability to control or direct such actions, even if as a result our rights as lenders are adversely affected.

We may be exposed to special risks associated with bankruptcy cases.

One or more of our portfolio companies may be involved in bankruptcy or other reorganization or liquidation proceedings. Many of the events within a bankruptcy case are adversarial and often beyond the control of the creditors. While creditors generally are afforded an opportunity to object to significant actions, we cannot assure you that a bankruptcy court would not approve actions that may be contrary to our interests. There also are instances where creditors can lose their ranking and priority if they are considered to have taken over management of a borrower. If one of our portfolio companies were to go bankrupt, depending on the facts and circumstances, including the extent to which we will actually provide significant managerial assistance to that portfolio company, a bankruptcy court might subordinate all or a portion of our claim to that of other creditors.

The reorganization of a company can involve substantial legal, professional and administrative costs to a lender and the borrower. It is subject to unpredictable and lengthy delays, and during the process a company’s competitive position may erode, key management may depart and a company may not be able to invest adequately. In some cases, the debtor company may not be able to reorganize and may be required to liquidate assets. The debt of companies in financial reorganization will, in most cases, not pay current interest, may not accrue interest during reorganization and may be adversely affected by an erosion of the issuer’s fundamental value.

In addition, lenders can be subject to lender liability claims for actions taken by them where they become too involved in the borrower’s business or exercise control over the borrower. For example, we could become subject to a lender liability claim (alleging that we misused our influence on the borrower for the benefit of its lenders), if, among other things, the borrower requests significant managerial assistance from us and we provide that assistance.

Our failure to make follow-on investments in our portfolio companies could impair the value of our investments.

Following an initial investment in a portfolio company, we may make additional investments in that portfolio company as “follow-on” investments to:

 

increase or maintain in whole or in part our equity ownership percentage;

 

exercise warrants, options or convertible securities that were acquired in the original or subsequent financing; or

 

attempt to preserve or enhance the value of our investment.

We may elect not to make follow-on investments, may be constrained in our ability to employ available funds, or otherwise may lack sufficient funds to make those investments. We have the discretion to make any follow-on investments, subject to the availability of capital resources. However, doing so could be placing even more capital at risk in existing portfolio companies.

The failure to make follow-on investments may, in some circumstances, jeopardize the continued viability of a portfolio company and our initial investment, or may result in a missed opportunity for us to increase our participation in a successful operation. Even if we have sufficient capital to make a desired follow-on investment, we may elect not to make a follow-on investment because we may not want to increase our concentration of risk, because we prefer other opportunities or because we are inhibited by compliance with BDC requirements or the desire to maintain our tax status.

Our ability to enter into transactions with our affiliates is restricted.

We are prohibited under the 1940 Act from participating in certain transactions with certain of our affiliates without the prior approval of our Independent Directors and, in some cases, exemptive relief from the SEC. Any person that owns, directly or indirectly, 5% or more of our outstanding voting securities is our affiliate for purposes of the 1940 Act, and we generally are prohibited from buying or selling any security from or to such affiliate, absent the prior approval of our Independent Directors. The 1940 Act also prohibits certain “joint” transactions with certain of our affiliates, which could include investments in the same portfolio company (whether at the same or different times), without prior approval of our Independent Directors and, in some cases, exemptive relief from the SEC. If a person acquires more than 25% of our voting securities, we are prohibited from buying or selling any security from or to such person or certain of that person’s affiliates, or entering into prohibited joint transactions with such persons, absent the prior approval of the SEC. Similar restrictions limit our ability to transact business with our officers or directors or their affiliates.

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The decision by TSSP, TPG or our Adviser to allocate an opportunity to another entity could cause us to forgo an investment opportunity that we otherwise would have made. We also generally will be unable to invest in any issuer in which TSSP, TPG and its other affiliates or a fund managed by TSSP, TPG or its other affiliates has previously invested or in which they are making an investment. Similar restrictions limit our ability to transact business with our officers or directors or their affiliates. These restrictions may limit the scope of investment opportunities that would otherwise be available to us.

On December 16, 2014, we were granted an exemptive order from the SEC that allows us to co-invest, subject to certain conditions, with affiliates of TSSP and TPG in middle-market loan origination activities for companies domiciled in the United States and certain “follow-on” investments in companies in which we have already co-invested pursuant to the order and remain invested. We and our affiliates, including investment funds managed by our affiliates, are only permitted to co-invest in accordance with the terms of the exemptive order or in the limited circumstances otherwise currently permitted by regulatory guidance.

Any acquisitions or strategic investments that we pursue are subject to risks and uncertainties.

We have pursued and may continue to pursue growth through acquisitions or strategic investments in new businesses. Completion and timing of any such acquisitions or strategic investments may be subject to a number of contingencies, including the uncertainty in reaching a commercial agreement with our counterparty, our ability to obtain required board, shareholder and regulatory approvals, as well as any required financing (or the risk that these are obtained subject to terms and conditions that are not anticipated). The announcement or consummation of any transaction also may adversely impact our business relationships or engender competitive responses.

Acquisitions could involve numerous additional risks, such as unanticipated litigation, unexpected costs, liabilities, charges or expenses resulting from a transaction, the inability to generate sufficient revenue to offset acquisition costs and any changes in general economic or industry specific conditions. There can be no assurance that the integration of an acquired business will be successful or that an acquired business will prove to be profitable or sustainable. The failure to integrate successfully or to manage the challenges presented by an integration process may adversely impact our financial results. In addition, the proposal and negotiation of acquisitions or strategic investments, whether or not completed, as well as the integration of those businesses into our existing portfolio, could result in substantial expenses and the diversion of our Adviser’s time, attention and resources from our day-to-day operations.

Our ability to manage our growth through acquisitions or strategic investments will depend, in part, on our success in addressing these risks. Any failure to effectively implement our acquisition or strategic investment strategies could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

We cannot guarantee that we will be able to obtain various required licenses in U.S. states or in any other jurisdiction where they may be required in the future.

We are required to have and may be required in the future to obtain various state licenses to, among other things, originate commercial loans, and may be required to obtain similar licenses from other authorities, including outside of the United States, in the future in connection with one or more investments. Applying for and obtaining required licenses can be costly and take several months. We cannot assure you that we will maintain or obtain all of the licenses that we need on a timely basis. We also are and will be subject to various information and other requirements to maintain and obtain these licenses, and we cannot assure you that we will satisfy those requirements. Our failure to maintain or obtain licenses that we require, now or in the future, might restrict investment options and have other adverse consequences.

Our investments in foreign companies may involve significant risks in addition to the risks inherent in U.S. investments.

Our investment strategy may include potential investments in foreign companies. Investing in foreign companies may expose us to additional risks not typically associated with investing in U.S. companies. These risks include changes in exchange control regulations, U.S. trade policy, political and social instability, expropriation, imposition of foreign taxes (potentially at confiscatory levels), less liquid markets, less available information than is generally the case in the United States, higher transaction costs, less government supervision of exchanges, brokers and issuers, less developed bankruptcy laws, difficulty in enforcing contractual obligations, lack of uniform accounting and auditing standards and greater price volatility. Uncertainty in the wake of Brexit could also have negative impacts on both the U.K. economy and the economies of other countries in Europe. In addition, interest income derived from loans to foreign companies is not eligible to be distributed to our non-U.S. stockholders free from withholding taxes.

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Although most of our investments will be U.S. dollar-denominated, our investments that are denominated in a foreign currency will be subject to the risk that the value of a particular currency will change in relation to one or more other currencies. Among the factors that may affect currency values are trade balances, the level of short-term interest rates, differences in relative values of similar assets in different currencies, long-term opportunities for investment and capital appreciation and political developments. We may employ hedging techniques to minimize these risks, but we cannot assure you that such strategies will be effective or without risk to us.

We expose ourselves to risks when we engage in hedging transactions.

We have entered, and may in the future enter, into hedging transactions, which may expose us to risks associated with such transactions. We may seek to utilize instruments such as forward contracts, currency options and interest rate swaps, caps, collars and floors to seek to hedge against fluctuations in the relative values of our portfolio positions from changes in currency exchange rates and market interest rates  and the relative value of certain debt securities from changes in market interest rates. Use of these hedging instruments may include counter-party credit risk. To the extent we have non-U.S. investments, particularly investments denominated in non-U.S. currencies, our hedging costs will increase.

We also have the ability to borrow in certain foreign currencies under the second amended and restated senior secured revolving credit agreement, as amended, with SunTrust Bank, as administrative agent, and certain lenders, which we refer to as the Revolving Credit Facility. Instead of entering into a foreign exchange forward contract in connection with loans or other investments we have made that are denominated in a foreign currency, we may borrow in that currency to establish a natural hedge against our loan or investment. To the extent the loan or investment is based on a floating rate other than a rate under which we can borrow under our Revolving Credit Facility, we may seek to utilize interest rate derivatives to hedge our exposure to changes in the associated rate.

Hedging against a decline in the values of our portfolio positions would not eliminate the possibility of fluctuations in the values of such positions or prevent losses if the values of such positions were to decline. However, such hedging can establish other positions designed to gain from those same developments, thereby offsetting the decline in the value of such portfolio positions. Such hedging transactions may also limit the opportunity for gain if the values of the underlying portfolio positions were to increase. It also may not be possible to hedge against an exchange rate or interest rate fluctuation that is so generally anticipated that we are not able to enter into a hedging transaction at an acceptable price.

The success of our hedging strategy will depend on our ability to correctly identify appropriate exposures for hedging. To date, we have entered into hedging transactions to seek to reduce currency exchange rate risk and interest rate risk related to specific portfolio companies. In addition, in connection with our Convertible Senior Notes and 2023 Notes, which bear interest at fixed rates, we entered into fixed-to-floating interest rate swaps to continue to align the interest rates of our liabilities with our investment portfolio, which consists of predominately floating rate loans. However, unanticipated changes in currency exchange rates or other exposures that we might hedge may result in poorer overall investment performance than if we had not engaged in any such hedging transactions. In addition, the degree of correlation between price movements of the instruments used in a hedging strategy and price movements in the portfolio positions being hedged may vary, as may the time period in which the hedge is effective relative to the time period of the related exposure.

For a variety of reasons, we may not seek to (or be able to) establish a perfect correlation between such hedging instruments and the positions being hedged. Any such imperfect correlation may prevent us from achieving the intended hedge and expose us to risk of loss. In addition, it may not be possible to hedge fully or perfectly against currency fluctuations affecting the value of securities denominated in non-U.S. currencies because the value of those securities is likely to fluctuate as a result of factors not related to currency fluctuations. Income derived from hedging transactions also is not eligible to be distributed to non-U.S. stockholders free from withholding taxes. See also “—Risks Related to Our Portfolio Company Investments—We are exposed to risks associated with changes in interest rates” and “ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS—Results of Operations—Hedging.”

Recent and anticipated regulatory changes require that certain types of swaps, including interest rate and credit default swaps, be cleared and traded on regulated platforms, and these regulatory changes are expected to apply to foreign exchange transactions in the future. Cleared swaps, such as the interest rate swaps we entered into in connection with certain investments in portfolio companies and our Convertible Senior Notes and 2023 Notes, require us to post collateral. Any failure by us to fulfill any collateral requirement (e.g., a so-called “margin call”) may result in a default and could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations. U.S. regulators have adopted rules imposing margin requirements for derivatives executed with registered swap dealers that are not cleared. These new requirements could significantly increase the cost of using non-cleared swaps to hedge our interest rate and foreign exchange risk.

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Finally, the SEC has issued a proposed rule, Rule 18f-4, that if adopted would potentially constrain our ability to use swaps and other derivatives. Among other requirements, the proposed rule could potentially force us to reduce our use of leverage if our aggregate exposure to swap or derivative positions, together with outstanding leverage and any financial commitments to our portfolio companies, exceeds 150 percent of our net asset value, absent an assessment that our use of derivatives reduces our actual portfolio risk. In addition, we may be required under the proposed rule to carry sufficient cash and cash equivalents to meet our actual, and in some cases, expected future, obligations under any swaps or derivatives we currently have in place, which could cause the returns on our overall portfolio to be lower as a result. We cannot assure you when or if the proposed rule will be adopted by the SEC, and if adopted, whether the final rule will similarly constrain our ability to utilize swaps and derivatives in the future.

If we cease to be eligible for an exemption from regulation as a commodity pool operator, our compliance expenses could increase substantially.

Our Adviser has been granted relief under a no-action letter, known as Letter 12-40, issued by the staff of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC. Letter 12-40 relieves our Adviser from registering with the CFTC as the commodity pool operator, or CPO, of us, so long as we:

 

continue to be regulated by the SEC as a BDC;

 

confine our trading in CFTC-regulated derivatives within specified thresholds; and

 

are not marketed to the public as a commodity pool or as a vehicle for trading in CFTC-regulated derivatives.

If we were unable to satisfy the conditions of Letter 12-40 in the future, our Adviser may be subject to registration with the CFTC as a CPO. Registered CPOs must comply with numerous substantive regulations related to disclosure, reporting and recordkeeping, and are required to become members of the National Futures Association, or the NFA, and be subject to the NFA’s rules and bylaws. Compliance with these additional registration and regulatory requirements could increase our expenses and impact performance. The Adviser previously relied on the exemption from registration in CFTC Rule 4.13(a)(3), which is not available for advisers of companies whose stock is marketed to the public.

Our portfolio investments may present special tax issues.

Investments in below-investment grade debt instruments and certain equity securities may present special tax issues for us. U.S. federal income tax rules are not entirely clear about certain issues, including when we may cease to accrue interest, original issue discount or market discount, when and to what extent certain deductions may be taken for bad debts or worthless equity securities, how payments received on obligations in default should be allocated between principal and interest income, as well as whether exchanges of debt instruments in a bankruptcy or workout context are taxable. These matters could cause us to recognize taxable income for U.S. federal income tax purposes, even in the absence of cash or economic gain, and require us to make taxable distributions to our stockholders to maintain our RIC status or preclude the imposition of either U.S. federal corporate income or excise taxation. Additionally, because such taxable income may not be matched by corresponding cash received by us, we may be required to borrow money or dispose of other investments to be able to make distributions to our stockholders. These and other issues will be considered by us, to the extent determined necessary, so that we aim to minimize the level of any U.S. federal income or excise tax that we would otherwise incur. See “ITEM 1. BUSINESS—Regulation as a Business Development CompanyRegulated Investment Company Classification” for more information.

If we are not treated as a publicly offered regulated investment company, certain U.S. stockholders will be treated as having received a dividend from us in the amount of such U.S. stockholders’ allocable share of the Manag