Current price: $1.30
Merger Consideration: $1.45
Expiration Date: 12th Dec 2019
Merger between two failed BDCs that trade at large discounts to their NAV. OHAI shareholders are set to receive $1.45/share in cash and stock – 11% spread to current price. Cheap borrow is available for hedging, but eventual payout is still exposed to NAV fluctuations, potentially to the positive side. The merger was announced 3 months ago. Shareholder approval is pending – meeting is set for the 12th of December. Downside to unaffected price is 18%.
OHA Investment ($26m market cap and 29% discount to NAV) is getting acquired by Portman Ridge Finance ($84m market cap and 37% discount to NAV).
If merger is consummated OHAI shareholders will receive:
- $8m (or $0.4/share) minimum in cash – portion paid in cash might be higher as PTMN dilution from new share issuance cannot exceed 19.9%.
- Remaining portion (after deducting the above $8m) of OHAI NAV to be paid in PTMN stock valued on NAV basis. While this sounds somewhat confusing, it is simply receiving the same ‘amount’ of net asset value just in different stock. At current NAVs ($1.83/share for OHAI and $3.55/share for PTMN) this results in 0.403 PTMN shares for each OHAI share. Final exchange ration will depend on NAV of both companies at the time of closure.
- Additional cash consideration of $3m (or $0.15/share) paid by PTMN’s external manager and not the acquirer. This is important as there might be different tax treatment for this part of consideration (although company expects it will be treated as standard merger consideration).
- This results in per share consideration of $0.545 in cash and $0.905 in PTMN shares. Or $1.45 in total.
Shareholder Approval and Proposed Buyback
This merger is the result of strategic review that has been ongoing for 1.5 years since Nov 2017. Even ignoring management quality, with portfolio of only $80m OHAI clearly lacks scale with almost all of the investment income consumed by management fees and other admin expenses. As long as it trades at a wide discount to NAV, the company has no chances to raise additional funds and increase its portfolio. And in the absence of merger the company would simply continue to bleed out NAV.
In management’s own words:
When we took over management of OHAI almost 5 years ago, we intended to increase its scale and diversify the portfolio away from the energy focus of prior management. Unfortunately, the immediate and severe downturn of energy prices never allowed us to pursue that strategy for the benefit of shareholders in a meaningful way.
While we are proud of the consistent success of new investments made under OHA leadership, these gains have only cushioned the substantial losses. As both the investment adviser and a shareholder of the company, we are surely disappointed by the magnitude of write-downs in the legacy investment portfolio, and we became mindful of the expense burden relative to a subscale investment portfolio.
This prompted our board to explore a variety of options that could provide more scale to OHAI.
It has taken OHAI management 1.5 years to find this merger opportunity and probably there are not many other options in sight. Proxy indicates that a number of parties have shown initial interest in some kind of transaction with OHAI, but eventually all except one dropped out of the race. OHAI has traded at an even wider discount (50%-60%, probably due to legacy asset write downs) before the strategic review, so shareholders have high incentives to approve this transaction in order to avoid returning to the previous discount profile.
Also I think it is quite rare for BDC management to relinquish control voluntarily. One of the analysts put it really well:
Congratulations on the transaction, and kudos to the OHAI Board for taking — making the right decision for shareholders as opposed to holding out and milking the company for fees. It’s very laudable and not done enough in this industry.
There are a number of other reasons outlined in the presentation (and this joint conference call) why the merger makes sense for both companies – larger scale, spread of admin fees over larger base, NII accretive, cheaper financing and etc. All of these look good on paper but it is not clear if there will be any real value add as the resulting combined asset portfolio will still be sub-scale.
However, one point is particularly attractive. PTMN has proposed to initiate buyback of $10m if the shares of the merged company trades below 75% of NAV. This is almost 10% of the combined market cap and PTMN currently trades at 67% of NAV – so if the discount stays at current levels, buyback should be initiated right after the merger. I think this commitment by management to return further funds to shareholders should incentify shareholders to approve the proposed transaction.
Four largest OHAI shareholders own 32% of stock and one of the directors additional 4%. I am guessing these larger shareholders would have voiced their concerns already if they intend to reject the merger. As nothing has been heard in 3 months since the announcement, I am assuming these 36% of votes are already in the bag.
The eventual payout for OHAI shareholders depends not only on PTMN share price (can be hedged by shorting), but also on NAVs at the time of closure.
Proxy indicates development of net asset value for both companies over the last 3 years.
And for OHAI:
PTMN NAV declines exceeded dividend payouts, whereas OHAI NAV appeared more stable recently. OHAI NAV declines in 2017/2018 drops were driven by large write-downs of legacy assets. If these trends continue for the next quarter, then the eventual exchange ratio will be higher than the currently estimated and consideration received by OHAI shareholders will increase.
OHAI is due to report Q3 NAV on the 12th of November and PTMN Q3 NAV has already been announced at $3.55/share.
- Shareholders reject the merger – 20% downside in that case;
- OHAI reports decline in NAV with Q3 results on the 12th of November;
- OHAI NAV declines more than NAV of PTMN during the time left till merger is consummated (if reverse happens, would be a positive effect).