Two commercial banks that have been trying to revitalize their high-yield businesses brightened their league table rankings during a generally slow second quarter for new issuance.
Both banks - Deutsche Bank AG and Bank of America Corp. - rode the coattails of a few large gaming deals while their bulge-bracket competitors scooped up market share by leading mammoth issues for telecommunications and communications companies that were already well-known to investors.
Of the commercially chartered banks, Deutsche Bank made the most notable about-face from the second quarter of 1999, as its securities business, Deutsche Banc Alex.Brown, rocketed to second place with a 15% share of the U.S. high-yield market.
The second-quarter showing is a turning point for Deutsche, which revamped its high-yield business last year after originations dwindled in the wake of Deutsche's acquisition of Bankers Trust Corp.
Deutsche and Banc of America Securities were joint book managers on a $710 million issue for MGM Grand Inc. at the end of May. The issue was originally planned for $500 million. The notes helped the Las Vegas company finance its $4.4 billion acquisition of Mirage Resorts.
"Telecommunications has been such a good piece of the forward calendar that people have needed to diversify their portfolios, and gaming was one of the sectors they've used to do that," said Richard J. Byrne, global head of high-yield capital markets at Deutsche Banc Alex.Brown.
Overall U.S. junk bond issuance plummeted 73% from the second quarter of last year, to $8.6 billion. The market perked up at the tail end of the quarter, with four of the 10 largest deals issued in the last week.
Deutsche and Banc of America Securities paired up again during the last week of the quarter as joint book managers for a $375 million issue for Station Casinos Inc. of Las Vegas.
Both casino deals, which had a hefty bank debt component in which Deutsche and Bank of America Corp. played senior roles, reinforce banks' long-held assertion that they should be able to use their large balance sheets to win underwriting deals.
Telecommunications deals - the golden child of the junk bond market - and their underwriters continued to dominate the rankings.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was the most active junk bond underwriter of the quarter, beating out longtime leader Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc. with a 22% share of the market, and taking sole book manager status on a $1.2 billion issue for Exodus Communications Inc. at the end of the quarter.
DLJ dropped to second place from first place a year ago, but actually improved its market share, to 15%.
Companies that were already familiar to investors brought most of the largest deals. "Established credits with decent track record have had an easier time than newer start-ups," said Tom Haag, a high-yield portfolio manager with the Lutheran Brotherhood in Minneapolis.
The syndicated loan market remained healthy, with $339.2 billion in new issues in the second quarter, a 10% gain over the same period last year.
The strength of the telecommunications, media, and technology sectors has made up for the pullback in corporate mergers and acquisitions, which are typically a major driver of loan issuance, said Peter Gleysteen, group head of global syndicated lending at Chase Manhattan Corp.
Chase had the largest share of the syndicated market during the quarter, with 34.7% and $117.6 billion in new issues.
Bank of America, claiming a 22.1% market share, managed $75 billion in new issues, 20% more than the same quarter last year. Citigroup's Salomon Smith Barney, with a 11.4% market share, lead $38.7 billion in loans, an increase of 36.5%.
Bank One Corp. swapped places with J.P. Morgan & Co., taking fourth place, with $14.8 billion in new issues and 4.4% market share.
The leveraged loan market, however, recorded a 25% decline in new issues during the quarter, to $83.3 billion. Bank of America swapped places with Chase as the leading firm in this category, claiming 21.2% of market share versus Chase's 19.4%.