The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill’s delay yesterday raises a question for markets pricing in a surge in spending: what is at stake? Mergers & Acquisitions dives deeper into an earlier interview with O’Melveny & Myers partners Eric Richards and Elizabeth Dubeck to scope the opportunity for private equity and corporates in the wake of a potential bill.
Beneficiaries aren’t limited to building companies, the dealmakers said. Construction adjacent firms can anticipate a considerable uptick in opportunities as well.
“Even assets entirely owned by governments can rely on private sector expertise: development, design and consulting firms will benefit from infrastructure spending,” Richards said in an interview earlier this month before the contours of the pending agreement were firm. “Those companies that support operations of infrastructure will benefit.”
The proposed bipartisan legislation would deploy $1 trillion over five years, of which $579 billion would be allocated to public works projects like roads and bridge maintenance and construction.
“The Biden administration directive to make projects more environmentally friendly creates a need for companies that can facilitate environmental compliance across projects, able to facilitate development and operations,” Dubeck told Mergers & Acquisitions earlier this month. “Even though they’re not core infrastructure companies themselves.”
Alongside construction-adjacent companies, operations and logistics firms could also see a lift from proposed legislation.
“An airport is really an enterprise,” Richards elaborated. “Governments don’t always run enterprises well but a lot of companies do. You’ll see a lot of upstarts in the US focused on operations, growing opportunities there.”
Firms are already girding for investment in infrastructure, whether legislation passes or not. BlackRock’s (NYSE:BLK) $1.67 billion capital raise for its Global Infrastructure Debt Fund was announced last month. The fund aims to offer bespoke financing for sponsors and other borrowers developing assets with sub-investment grade credit quality.
The deal comes months after KKR was reported to seek $12 billion from investors for its newest infrastructure fund, a massive target given its previous raise closer to $7 billion. KKR had over $11 billion in commitments to its first three Global Infrastructure Investors funds as of the end of the first quarter, with much of them already invested.