A-L Parent: Downgraded To CCR 4

After a review of the IIQ 2020 BDC results, the BDC Credit Reporter decided to downgrade Learfield Communications, LLC (owned by A-L Parent, LLC) to CCR 4 from CCR 3. We noted that the two BDCs holding the company’s second lien debt sharply discounted their positions as of June 30, 2020. Furthermore, on May 20, 2020, Moody’s downgraded the company to Caa1 and the second lien debt – the only BDC exposure – to Caa3. We are mostly concerned that the media company which depends on college sports broadcasting is said to have very weak liquidity. Furthermore, leverage was said to be very high at year-end 2019 (10x !) and is likely only to have gotten worse. As a result, we are also adding the company to the Weakest Links list.

Apollo Investment (AINV) has $5.5mn invested at cost and Bain Capital Specialty Finance (BCSF) $4.0mn and total investment income at risk is nearly $0.8mn. For neither BDC is the amount at risk highly material to future results. However, given the second lien status and the long dry spell ahead for college sports an eventual complete write-off is a distinct possibility.

We’ll be keeping track of developments at the company in the public record and next time the BDCs involved report, but there’s a chance a bankruptcy or restructuring may have happened before then. Learfield is a clear Second Wave credit casualty. Admittedly, Moody’s had downgraded the company previously in 2019 and at the end of the year the BDCs involved had discounted their debt by (10%), causing us to add the name to the underperformers list. However, the interruption in business brought on by Covid-19 has accelerated the company’s troubles. Of course, all that leverage piled up before the crisis happened didn’t help…