May was a big month for junk bonds: More than $15.9 billion worth of the high yield notes were issued, which was the highest monthly total since June 2008. That figure includes issuances from several buyout-backed companies, including large offerings from Harrah’s Entertainment, Apria Healthcare and Gibson Energy Holdings.
Buyouts’ Ari Nathanson wrote that the action offers a glimmer of hope that investors might be more comfortable with risk, and perhaps hungry to invest in high yield debt for new leveraged buyouts.
I’m wondering if it’s not based on risk appetite at all, but simply reflects a desire to invest in anything. Some of these issuers go beyond “risk.” Harrah’s, for example, raised $1.323 billion worth of junk bonds, an increase from the original plan to sell $1 billion. Since its debut, the company’s notes traded at a respectable 96 to 97 cents on the dollar.