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Banking

Why CFOs should stop mistrusting hedge funds

Hedge funds are overflowing with money, and margins on traditional strategies are shrinking. One solution to their search for returns is to offer their services to companies in need of financing. Some are nervous about taking up the opportunities but others are discovering just how useful these new financiers can be.

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EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT Guy Spanos was considering the prospects for his company, Pay By Touch Solutions. Set up in 2002, its payments technology using finger scans had taken off and was being used in more than 100 stores across the US. Pay By Touch had also made a series of fruitful acquisitions. Now, three years on, Spanos and founder, chairman and CEO John Rogers wanted to refinance their balance sheet and rapidly expand the business at home and abroad.

Spanos was clear about how he wanted to raise capital. Earlier in his career he had worked in the capital markets and knew that this time he wanted financing from hedge funds. Using UBS as a prime broker, Pay By Touch secured $130 million – $75 million of which was raised in senior secured notes from five hedge funds.

An increasing number of companies are taking the same path. As Pay by Touch shows, these are not just ailing cash-strapped companies in need of restructuring, or those that have tried every other option for financing, such as Malcolm Glazer in his bid for UK football team Manchester United.

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