Deals of the Year 2008: A year of living on the edge
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Deals of the Year 2008: A year of living on the edge

The most canny issuers in 2008 were those that realized it was important to get on and raise capital even if the price was not great. Waiting for the market to improve was and remains a potentially fatal strategy. Alex Chambers reports.

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CAPITAL-RAISING MATTERED more than ever in 2008. There seems little doubt that it will also be a big theme during the next 12 months.

Last year was dire for the capital markets. Right from the off, activity was subdued, even in the US where the primary market normally has a roaring start to the year. The tensions that began in 2007, when concerns about sub-prime related losses hurt investor confidence in the investment banking community, became so great in 2008 that they cost many institutions their independence or even existence.

"The overriding theme of last year was the wisdom of taking the money when it was there," says David Marks, chairman of FIG DCM at JPMorgan.

Having spent much of 2007 holding to the belief that it was possible to sit out the crisis, in the course of 2008 many borrowers began to take on board the fact that waiting for better times was a risky option.

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