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Firms leading the private debt market

Which firms are providing companies with the capital they need through private debt? Here’s a look at 1Q 2019’s most active lenders to US PE-backed companies according to PitchBook.

We recently discussed the ins and outs of private debt on the PitchBook Blog, including the concept’s definition: any debt held by or extended to privately held companies, often involving a non-bank institution making a loan. We also highlighted the forms private debt can take, its prevalence in the private markets and a handful of private debt-related terms in our blog post What is private debt?

So, which firms are providing companies with the capital they need through private debt? Let’s take a closer look at firms leading the private debt market according to PitchBook’s recent US PE Lending League Tables report.

Most active lenders to US PE-backed companies in 2021

Ares Management

Los Angeles-based Ares Management is a publicly traded, global alternative asset manager seeking to deliver performance to the investor base across investment groups and strategies, including credit, private equity and real estate.

  • Sponsored loans in 2021: 63
  • Preferred industries: Commercial products and services, media, real estate services (B2C) and others
  • Geographic preferences: China, Europe, North America


Barings is a money management firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Established in 1940, the firm provides services to asset manager clients, financial advisors, life insurance companies, government bodies, corporations, pension funds, charitable institutions, institutional investors as well as retail and private clients.

  • Sponsored loans in Q2 2021: 54
  • Preferred commitment size: $260M-$4B
  • Preferred direct investment size: $5M-$1B
  • Geographic preferences: Africa, Americas, Asia, East Asia, Europe, Middle East, North America, Oceania, South Asia, Southeast Asia

Antares Capital

Founded in 1996 and headquartered in Chicago, Antares Capital provides capital solutions to middle market, PE-backed companies. Acquired by GE Capital in 2005, the firm offers financial solutions for acquisition, restructuring, cross-border lending, leasing, recapitalization and leveraged buyout (LBO). Antares typically provides senior debt, junior capital, senior secured loans, second lien debt, mezzanine debt and structured equity.

  • Debt loans in Q2 2021: 51
  • Preferred loan amount: $7,000M
  • Preferred vertical: Manufacturing
  • Geographic preferences: North America

BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group is a commercial banking institution established in 1817 and based in Toronto, Ontario. They provide a range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services through three operating groups: personal and commercial banking, wealth management and BMO Capital Markets.

  • Sponsored loans in Q2 2021: 49
  • Preferred verticals: Healthtech, Insurtech, SaaS, TMT
  • Geographic preferences: North America

Churchill Asset Management

Churchill Asset Management is a lender based out of New York, New York and an affiliate of Nuveen, the asset management arm of TIAA. Since they were founded in 2006, they have primarily offered debt financing to companies owned by private equity investment firms, as well as mezzanine, secured debt and loan facility.

  • Sponsored loans in Q2 2021: 42
  • Preferred loan amount: $10M-$250M
  • Preferred verticals: Manufacturing
  • Geographical preferences: United States

Golub Capital

Golub Capital is a lender and asset manager established in 1994 and headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. They primarily offer middle-market lending, late-stage lending and broadly syndicated loans to middle-market companies and their private equity sponsors, while also targeting emerging tech companies and enterprise clients.

  • Sponsored loans in Q2 2021: 40
  • Preferred loan amount: $15M-$2B
  • Preferred verticals: Big Data, cybersecurity, ecommerce, fintech, Healthtech, life sciences, manufacturing, mobile, SaaS
  • Geographical preferences: United States

MidCap Financial

Founded in 2008 and based in Bethesda, Maryland, MidCap Financial Services is a middle market focused specialty finance firm that provides senior debt and a range of many other debt solutions to companies across all industries. The firm offers leveraged loans, real estate loans, asset-based loans, lender loans and venture debt to its clients.

  • Sponsored loans in Q2 2021: 37
  • Preferred loan amount: $50M-$1,500B
  • Preferred verticals: Beauty, life sciences, manufacturing
  • Geographic preferences: United States

Jefferies Group

Jefferies Group is an investment banking service provider founded in 1968 and based out of New York, New York. Their services are centered on equities, fixed income, asset and wealth management and they work with a wide array of investors, companies and governments in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia.

  • Sponsored loans in Q2 2021: 36
  • Preferred verticals: Tech, industrials, infrastructure
  • Geographic preferences: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Middle East

Madison Capital Funding

Madison Capital Funding is a leveraged financing firm in Chicago, Illinois. It provides cash flow-based leveraged finance products supporting acquisition, recapitalization and growth-oriented equity investments. It also offers senior loans, senior stretch loans, unitranche loans, mezzanine loans, equity co-investments and underwriting services.

  • Sponsored loans in Q2 2021: 36
  • Preferred loan amount: $200M+
  • Preferred verticals: Cybersecurity, fintech, healthtech, internet of things, life sciences, manufacturing
  • Geographic preferences: United States

Twin Brook Capital Partners

Chicago’s Twin Brook Capital Partners is a finance company that provides cashflow-based financing solutions for middle market, PE-backed companies. Their flexible suite of products allows for tailored financing solutions for LBOs, recapitalizations, add-on acquisitions, growth capital and more.

  • Sponsored loans in Q2 2021: 36
  • Preferred loan amount: $25M-$400M
  • Preferred industry: Software
  • Geographic preferences: United States

More on private debt

Learn more about how COVID-19 has affected the private debt market
Read our report on global private debt

Discover how the Great Recession continues to shape private debt
Learn about the connections these share in our blog post

Learn the fundamentals of private debt and its different forms
Read our post exploring the role of private debt in the market and key related concepts

See how private debt markets adapted in 2020
Visit our webinar page to watch a recording or download the presentation slides