Somebody Else's Leverage

Leverage is a funny thing. If you think an asset will deliver positive returns, you can get more of those positive returns if you can borrow cheaply enough to finance your purchase of (more) asset.

Sometimes - some beautiful, unique times - you can get other people to do the leverage part for you. An example I saw recently was a Reg A real estate deal in which the operators borrow, with personal guarantees, to finance the purchase of an ostensibly productive asset.

As an equity buyer in that deal, you get the upside of the leverage - more cash flow per dollar invested - without the ugly downside of personally guaranteeing the debt.

That same logic applies in countless publicly traded stock with debt, limited liability or limited partnership arrangements. It’s someone else’s leverage, but as an equity holder, you reap some of the potential benefits without the blowup risk attached to the borrowing yourself.

This is not particularly special. It's just misunderstood and underutilized. Capital markets are neat sometimes.

Robinson Crawford