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Credit Markets Are In `Bubble Status': Apollo's Leon Black

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The credit markets are facing excesses as investors chase yield, Apollo Global Management LLC co-founder Leon Black said.

“The credit markets, unlike the equity markets, have gone to bubble status,” Black said Wednesday at the Goldman Sachs Financial Services Conference. “The amount of covenant-less debt is more than 2007. You have a thirst for yield that exists on a global basis. So there is true excess.”

Black said that in this environment his private equity business tries to get as much covenant-lite as possible, and fixed rate debt. Apollo takes the opposite approach in its credit business where the firm makes sure to have covenants.

“We try to play a more conservative, cautious role in a bubble environment,” said Black, who’s also chairman and chief executive of Apollo.

Black said the firm’s credit and insurance operations offer the most growth potential.

“We are still in the very early innings in both our credit and insurance businesses,” Black said. Credit could become a $300 billion to $400 billion business in the next three to four years, he added.

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