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Wall Street Borrows More for Payouts as IPOs Fall, Moody’s Says

Private-equity firms took most of the $11 billion in dividends that U.S. speculative-grade companies paid in the first six months of the year as Wall Street’s ability to exit investments through initial public offerings plummeted.

Buyout firms owned 28 of the 35 high-yield, high-risk borrowers that made such payments through debt transactions, according to a report published yesterday by Moody’s Investors Service. The two largest deals were a $2.2 billion dividend to Bain Capital LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP from billboard firm Clear Channel Communications Inc. and a $1 billion payout to Bain and KKR & Co. from hospital operator HCA Holdings Inc.