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Portfolio > Alternative Investments

Hatteras Splits From Crumbling RCAP as Moody’s Mulls Downgrade

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A day after Apollo backed out of a plan to form a joint venture with RCS Capital (RCAP), Hatteras Funds says it is buying its business back from RCAP in order to re-establish itself as an employee-owned alternative investment firm.

“We are excited to re-establish Hatteras as a 100% employee-owned firm. We will continue to focus on providing alternative investment solutions designed to help financial advisors build better, more diversified portfolios for their clients,” said CEO David Perkins, in a statement on Tuesday. “We believe we are well-positioned to execute on our business plan because of our strong asset base and deep relationships with financial advisors.”

RCS Capital, which owns the Cetera Financial Group of broker-dealers, bought Hatteras in June 2014. The fund group, though, says it has “continued to operate as an independent reporting segment over the past 16 months.”

The firm adds that it does not plan to make changes to Hatteras Funds’ leadership or portfolio management teams as a result of the transaction, which is expected to close in early 2016.

On Monday, RCS Capital, led by CEO Michael Weil, said it was selling its troubled wholesale-distribution unit to Apollo Global Management (APO) for $25 million. However, a deal valued at $378 million in August to form AR Global Investments with Apollo was cancelled.

Speculation about the future of Cetera, which is led by Larry Roth, has been rampant over the past few months, as RCAP’s stock has plunged.

These developments followed the debacle of October 2014, when American Realty Capital Properties (now VEREIT) reported $23 million of accounting errors. After that news broke, many broker-dealers stopped selling nontraded REITs and other products associated with American Realty Capital Properties, AR Capital and RCAP, ventures founded or led in the past by real-estate mogul Nicholas Schorsch.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, Moody’s Investors Service placed the following RCS-related ratings on review for downgrades: RCS’ B3 corporate family rating, B3 $575 million senior secured first lien term loan, B3 $25 million senior secured first lien revolving credit facility, and CAA2 $150 million senior secured second  lien term loan.

“The rating actions follow a series of announcements made by RCS and affiliated entities that together indicate a heightened level of uncertainty concerning RCS’ strategic priorities and prospects,” Moody’s explained in a statement.

The termination of Apollo’s planned investment in AR Capital, “heightens the uncertainty concerning the value of RCS’ investment banking and capital markets activities, which are dependent on transactions with products sponsored by AR Capital to generate the bulk of their income,” it adds.

Other factors that could negatively impact RCS’ creditors include: ongoing changes to RCS’ board composition, the changed terms and reduced price of the planned partial sale of RCS’ wholesale distribution activities to Apollo, the planned sale of RCS’ liquid alternatives platform at a significant discount to its 2014 purchase price, and RCS’ continued exploration of strategic alternatives in pursuit of capital structure rationalization, the ratings agency says.

“RCS’ ratings could be downgraded should Moody’s conclude that the prospects of RCS’ independent retail advisory business are not  sufficiently reliable and adequate to satisfy RCS’ existing obligations at their current ratings level,” it added.


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