Company Quick10K Filing
Ares Capital
10-K 2020-12-31 Filed 2021-02-10
10-Q 2020-09-30 Filed 2020-10-27
10-Q 2020-06-30 Filed 2020-08-04
10-Q 2020-03-31 Filed 2020-05-05
10-K 2019-12-31 Filed 2020-02-12
10-Q 2019-09-30 Filed 2019-10-30
10-Q 2019-06-30 Filed 2019-07-30
10-Q 2019-03-31 Filed 2019-04-30
10-K 2018-12-31 Filed 2019-02-12
10-Q 2018-09-30 Filed 2018-10-31
10-Q 2018-06-30 Filed 2018-08-01
10-Q 2018-03-31 Filed 2018-05-02
10-K 2017-12-31 Filed 2018-02-13
10-Q 2017-09-30 Filed 2017-11-02
10-Q 2017-06-30 Filed 2017-08-02
10-Q 2017-03-31 Filed 2017-05-03
10-K 2016-12-31 Filed 2017-02-22
10-Q 2016-09-30 Filed 2016-11-02
10-Q 2016-06-30 Filed 2016-08-03
10-Q 2016-03-31 Filed 2016-05-04
10-K 2015-12-31 Filed 2016-02-24
10-Q 2015-09-30 Filed 2015-11-04
10-Q 2015-06-30 Filed 2015-08-04
10-Q 2015-03-31 Filed 2015-05-04
10-K 2014-12-31 Filed 2015-02-26
10-Q 2014-09-30 Filed 2014-11-04
10-Q 2014-06-30 Filed 2014-08-05
10-Q 2014-03-31 Filed 2014-05-06
10-K 2013-12-31 Filed 2014-02-26
10-Q 2013-09-30 Filed 2013-11-05
10-Q 2013-06-30 Filed 2013-08-06
10-Q 2013-03-31 Filed 2013-05-07
10-K 2012-12-31 Filed 2013-02-27
10-Q 2012-09-30 Filed 2012-11-05
10-Q 2012-06-30 Filed 2012-08-07
10-Q 2012-03-31 Filed 2012-05-08
10-K 2011-12-31 Filed 2012-02-28
10-Q 2011-09-30 Filed 2011-11-08
10-Q 2011-06-30 Filed 2011-08-04
10-Q 2011-03-31 Filed 2011-05-03
10-K 2010-12-31 Filed 2011-03-01
10-Q 2010-09-30 Filed 2010-11-04
10-Q 2010-06-30 Filed 2010-08-05
10-Q 2010-03-31 Filed 2010-05-10
10-K 2009-12-31 Filed 2010-02-25
8-K 2021-02-23 Other Events
8-K 2021-02-16 Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2021-02-10 Earnings, Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2021-01-13 Enter Agreement, Off-BS Arrangement, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2020-10-27
8-K 2020-09-23
8-K 2020-08-13
8-K 2020-08-06
8-K 2020-08-04
8-K 2020-07-15
8-K 2020-06-22
8-K 2020-06-11
8-K 2020-05-05
8-K 2020-03-31
8-K 2020-03-23
8-K 2020-02-12
8-K 2020-01-31
8-K 2020-01-24
8-K 2020-01-15
8-K 2019-12-31
8-K 2019-11-21
8-K 2019-11-19
8-K 2019-11-08
8-K 2019-10-30
8-K 2019-09-17
8-K 2019-09-10
8-K 2019-07-30
8-K 2019-07-08
8-K 2019-06-18
8-K 2019-06-10
8-K 2019-06-10
8-K 2019-06-06
8-K 2019-04-30
8-K 2019-04-01
8-K 2019-03-20
8-K 2019-03-08
8-K 2019-02-12
8-K 2018-12-14
8-K 2018-10-31
8-K 2018-10-02
8-K 2018-09-12
8-K 2018-08-01
8-K 2018-06-25
8-K 2018-05-14
8-K 2018-05-02
8-K 2018-04-02
8-K 2018-03-30
8-K 2018-02-13
8-K 2018-01-11

ARCC 10K Annual Report

Part I
Item 1. Business
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Part II
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Item 6. Selected Financial Data
Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Item 9A. Controls and Procedures
Item 9B. Other Information
Part III
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
Item 11. Executive Compensation
Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters
Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
Item 14. Principal Accountant Fees and Services
Part IV
Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules
Item 16. Form 10 - K Summary
EX-10.31 arccq42020-exhibit1031.htm
EX-21.1 arccq4-2020exhibit211.htm
EX-23.1 arccq4-2020exhibit231.htm
EX-31.1 arccq4-2020exhibit311.htm
EX-31.2 arccq4-2020exhibit312.htm
EX-32.1 arccq4-2020exhibit321.htm
EX-99.1 arccq4-2020ex991.htm

Ares Capital Earnings 2020-12-31

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow

10-K 1 arccq4-202010k.htm 10-K Document


UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
____________________________________________________________________________
FORM 10-K
ý ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
OR
o TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from _____ to _____
Commission File No. 814-00663
__________________________________________________________________________
ARES CAPITAL CORPORATION

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Maryland 33-1089684
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 (I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
245 Park Avenue, 44th Floor, New York, New York 10167
 (Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
(212) 750-7300
 (Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
____________________________________________________________________________
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class 
Trading Symbol
Name of each exchange on which registered 
Common Stock, par value $0.001 per shareARCCThe NASDAQ Global Select Market
6.875% Senior Notes due 2047AFCThe New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ý    No o

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes o    No ý

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days: Yes ý    No o

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (Section §232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes o    No o

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act:
Large accelerated filer ý
 
Accelerated filer o
 
Non-accelerated filer o
 
Smaller reporting company o
Emerging Growth Company o

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.Yes ý    No o

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes o    No ý

The aggregate market value of the voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant on June 30, 2020, based on the closing price on that date of $14.45 on The NASDAQ Global Select Market, was approximately $6,072,661,908. As of February 4, 2021, there were 422,853,247 shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding.

Portions of the registrant’s Proxy Statement for its 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be filed not later than 120 days after the end of the fiscal year covered by this Annual Report on Form 10-K are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K.




ARES CAPITAL CORPORATION
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 
 
Signatures

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PART I

Item 1.    Business

GENERAL

Ares Capital Corporation

    Ares Capital Corporation, a Maryland corporation (together with its subsidiaries, where applicable, “Ares Capital” or the “Company,” which may also be referred to as “we,” “us” or “our”), is a specialty finance company that is a closed-end, non-diversified management investment company. We have elected to be regulated as a business development company (“BDC”) under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, the “Investment Company Act.” We were founded on April 16, 2004, were initially funded on June 23, 2004 and completed our initial public offering (“IPO”) on October 8, 2004. As of December 31, 2020, we were the largest BDC in the United States with approximately $16.2 billion of total assets.

    We are externally managed by Ares Capital Management LLC (“Ares Capital Management” or our “investment adviser”), a subsidiary of Ares Management Corporation (NYSE:ARES) (“Ares Management” or “Ares”), a publicly traded, leading global alternative investment manager, pursuant to our investment advisory and management agreement. Ares Operations LLC (“Ares Operations” or our “administrator”), a subsidiary of Ares Management, provides certain administrative and other services necessary for us to operate.

    Our investment objective is to generate both current income and capital appreciation through debt and equity investments. We invest primarily in U.S. middle-market companies, where we believe the supply of primary capital is limited and the investment opportunities are most attractive. However, we may from time to time invest in larger or smaller companies. We generally use the term “middle-market” to refer to companies with annual EBITDA between $10 million and $250 million. As used herein, EBITDA represents net income before net interest expense, income tax expense, depreciation and amortization.

We invest primarily in first lien senior secured loans (including “unitranche” loans, which are loans that combine both senior and subordinated debt, generally in a first lien position), and second lien senior secured loans. In addition to senior secured loans, we also invest in subordinated debt (sometimes referred to as mezzanine debt), which in some cases includes an equity component, and preferred equity. First and second lien senior secured loans generally are senior debt instruments that rank ahead of subordinated debt of a given portfolio company. Subordinated debt and preferred equity are subordinated to senior loans and are generally unsecured. Our investments in corporate borrowers generally range between $30 million and $500 million each and investments in project finance/power generation projects generally range between $10 million and $200 million. However, the investment sizes may be more or less than these ranges and may vary based on, among other things, our capital availability, the composition of our portfolio and general micro- and macro-economic factors.

    To a lesser extent, we also make common equity investments, which have generally been non-control equity investments of less than $20 million (usually in conjunction with a concurrent debt investment). However, we may increase the size or change the nature of these investments.

    The proportion of these types of investments will change over time given our views on, among other things, the economic and credit environment in which we are operating. In pursuit of our investment objective we generally seek to self-originate investments and lead the investment process.

The instruments in which we invest typically are not rated by any rating agency, but we believe that if such instruments were rated, they would be below investment grade (rated lower than “Baa3” by Moody’s Investors Service, lower than “BBB-” by Fitch Ratings or lower than “BBB-” by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services), which, under the guidelines established by these entities, is an indication of having predominantly speculative characteristics with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal. Bonds that are rated below investment grade are sometimes referred to as “high yield bonds” or “junk bonds.” We may invest without limit in debt or other securities of any rating, as well as debt or other securities that have not been rated by any nationally recognized statistical rating organization.

We believe that our investment adviser, Ares Capital Management, is able to leverage the current investment platform, resources and existing relationships of Ares Management with financial sponsors, financial institutions, hedge funds and other investment firms to provide us with attractive investment opportunities. For purposes of this document, we refer to Ares Management and its affiliated companies (other than portfolio companies of its affiliated funds) as “Ares.” In addition to deal flow, the Ares investment platform assists our investment adviser in analyzing, structuring and monitoring investments. Ares
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has been in existence for over 20 years and its partners have an average of approximately 25 years of experience in leveraged finance, private equity, distressed debt, commercial real estate finance, investment banking and capital markets. We have access to Ares’ investment professionals and administrative professionals, who provide assistance in accounting, finance, legal, compliance, operations, information technology and investor relations. As of December 31, 2020, Ares had over 525 investment professionals and over 925 administrative professionals.

While our primary focus is to generate current income and capital appreciation through investments in first and second lien senior secured loans and subordinated debt and, to a lesser extent, equity securities of eligible portfolio companies, we also may invest up to 30% of our portfolio in non‑qualifying assets, as permitted by the Investment Company Act. Specifically, as part of this 30% basket, we may invest in entities that are not considered “eligible portfolio companies” (as defined in the Investment Company Act), including companies located outside of the United States, entities that are operating pursuant to certain exceptions under the Investment Company Act, and publicly traded entities whose public equity market capitalization exceeds the levels provided for under the Investment Company Act.
Ares Management Corporation

Ares is a publicly traded, leading global alternative investment manager. As of December 31, 2020, Ares had over 1,450 employees in over 25 offices in more than 10 countries. Since its inception in 1997, Ares has adhered to a disciplined investment philosophy that focuses on delivering strong risk-adjusted investment returns throughout market cycles. Ares believes each of its distinct but complementary investment groups in Credit, Private Equity, Real Estate and Strategic Initiatives is a market leader based on assets under management and investment performance. Ares was built upon the fundamental principle that each group benefits from being part of the greater whole.

Ares Capital Management LLC

Ares Capital Management, our investment adviser, is served by an origination, investment and portfolio management team of approximately 120 U.S.-based investment professionals as of December 31, 2020 and led by certain partners of the Ares Credit Group: Kipp deVeer, Mitchell Goldstein and Michael Smith. Ares Capital Management leverages off of Ares’ investment platform and benefits from the significant capital markets, trading and research expertise of Ares’ investment professionals. Ares Capital Management’s investment committee has nine members primarily comprised of certain of the U.S.-based partners of the Ares Credit Group.

MARKET OPPORTUNITY

We believe that current market conditions present attractive opportunities for us to invest in middle-market companies, specifically:

We believe that many commercial and investment banks have de-emphasized their service and product offerings to middle-market businesses in favor of lending to large corporate clients and managing capital markets transactions. In addition, these lenders may be constrained in their ability to underwrite and hold bank loans and high yield securities for middle-market issuers as they seek to meet existing and future regulatory capital requirements. These factors may result in opportunities for alternative funding sources to middle-market companies and therefore more new-issue market opportunities for us.

We believe the disruption and volatility that occurs periodically in the credit markets reduces capital available to certain capital providers, causing a reduction in competition. Furthermore, in our view, the stable capital solutions provided by direct lenders is increasingly valuable and, as a result, widens the market opportunity for direct lending.

We believe that there is a lack of market participants that are willing to hold meaningful amounts of certain middle-market loans. As a result, we believe our ability to minimize syndication risk for a company seeking financing by being able to hold our loans without having to syndicate or sell them is a competitive advantage.

We believe that middle-market companies have faced difficulty in raising debt through the capital markets. This approach to financing may become more difficult to the extent institutional investors seek to invest in larger, more liquid offerings, leaving less competition and fewer financing alternatives for middle-market companies.    

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We believe there is a large pool of un-invested private equity capital for middle-market businesses. We expect private equity firms will seek to leverage their investments by combining equity capital with senior secured loans and subordinated debt from other sources such as us.

We believe the middle-market represents a significant portion of the overall economy, and exhibits healthy demand for capital. In addition, due to the fragmented nature of the middle-market and the lack of publicly available information, we believe direct lenders have an opportunity to originate and underwrite investments with more favorable terms, including stronger covenant and reporting packages, as well as better call protection and change of control provisions as compared to the large, broadly syndicated loan market.

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES

We believe that we have the following competitive advantages over other capital providers to middle-market companies:

The Ares Platform

Ares operates integrated groups across Credit, Private Equity, Real Estate and Strategic Initiatives. We believe our affiliation with Ares provides a distinct competitive advantage through Ares’ originations, due diligence and marketing activities. In particular, we believe that the Ares platform provides us with an advantage through its deal flow generation and investment evaluation process. Ares’ asset management platform also provides additional market information, company knowledge and industry insight that benefit our investment and due diligence process. Ares’ professionals maintain extensive financial sponsor and intermediary relationships, which provide valuable insight and access to transactions and information.

Seasoned Management Team

The investment professionals in the Ares Credit Group and members of our investment adviser’s investment committee also have significant experience investing across market cycles. This experience also provides us with a competitive advantage in identifying, originating, investing in and managing a portfolio of investments in middle-market companies.

Broad Origination Strategy

We focus on self-originating most of our investments by pursuing a broad array of investment opportunities in middle-market companies and power generation projects across multiple channels. We also leverage off of the extensive relationships of the broader Ares platform, including relationships with the portfolio companies in the IHAM Vehicles (as defined below), to identify investment opportunities. Additionally, our size and scale provide the opportunity to source attractive investments in some of our existing portfolio companies. Collectively, we believe these advantages allow for enhanced asset selectivity as we believe there is a significant relationship between proprietary deal origination and credit performance. We believe that this allows for asset selectivity and that there is a significant relationship between proprietary deal origination and credit performance. We believe that our focus on generating proprietary deal flow and lead investing also gives us greater control over capital structure, deal terms, pricing and documentation and enables us to actively manage our portfolio investments. Moreover, by leading the investment process, we are often able to secure controlling positions in credit tranches, thereby providing additional control in investment outcomes. We also have originated substantial proprietary deal flow from middle-market intermediaries, which often allows us to act as the sole or principal source of institutional capital to the borrower.

Scale and Flexible Transaction Structuring

We believe that being one of the largest BDCs makes us a more desirable and flexible capital provider, especially in competitive markets. We are flexible with the types of investments we make and the terms associated with those investments. We believe this approach and experience enables our investment adviser to identify attractive investment opportunities throughout economic cycles and across a company’s capital structure so we can make investments consistent with our stated investment objective and preserve principal while seeking appropriate risk adjusted returns. In addition, we have the flexibility to provide “one stop” financing with the ability to invest capital across the balance sheet and syndicate and hold larger investments than many of our competitors. We believe that the ability to underwrite, syndicate and hold larger investments benefits our stockholders by (a) potentially increasing net income and earnings through leadership of the investment process and making commitments in excess of our final investment, (b) increasing originated deal flow flexibility, (c) broadening market relationships and deal flow, (d) allowing us to optimize our portfolio composition and (e) allowing us to provide capital to a broader spectrum of middle-market companies, which we believe currently have limited access to capital from traditional lending sources. In addition, we believe that the ability to provide capital at every level of the balance sheet provides a strong
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value proposition to middle-market borrowers and our senior debt capabilities provide superior deal origination and relative value analysis capabilities compared to junior capital focused lenders.

Experience with and Focus on Middle-Market Companies

Ares has historically focused on investments in middle-market companies and we benefit from this experience. In sourcing and analyzing deals, our investment adviser benefits from Ares’ extensive network of relationships focused on middle-market companies, including management teams, members of the investment banking community, private equity groups and other investment firms with whom Ares has had long-term relationships. We believe this network enables us to identify well-positioned prospective portfolio company investments. The Ares Credit Group works closely with Ares’ other investment professionals. As of December 31, 2020, Ares oversaw a portfolio of investments in over 1,940 companies, over 760 alternative credit investments and over 210 properties across over 55 industries, which provides access to an extensive network of relationships and insights into industry trends and the state of the capital markets.

Disciplined Investment Philosophy

In making its investment decisions, our investment adviser has adopted Ares’ long-standing, consistent, credit-based investment approach that was developed over 20 years ago by its founders. Specifically, our investment adviser’s investment philosophy, portfolio construction and portfolio management involve an assessment of the overall macroeconomic environment and financial markets and company-specific research and analysis. Its investment approach emphasizes capital preservation, low volatility and minimization of downside risk. In addition to engaging in extensive due diligence from the perspective of a long-term investor, our investment adviser’s approach seeks to reduce risk in investments by focusing on:

businesses with strong franchises and sustainable competitive advantages;

industries with positive long-term dynamics;

businesses and industries with cash flows that are dependable and predictable;

management teams with demonstrated track records and appropriate economic incentives;

rates of return commensurate with the perceived risks;

securities or investments that are structured with appropriate terms and covenants; and

businesses backed by experienced private equity sponsors.

Extensive Industry Focus

We seek to concentrate our investing activities in industries with a history of predictable and dependable cash flows and in which the Ares investment professionals have had extensive investment experience. Ares investment professionals have developed long-term relationships with management teams and management consultants in over 55 industries, and have accumulated substantial information and identified potential trends within these industries. In turn, we benefit from these relationships, information and identification of potential trends in making investments.

OPERATING AND REGULATORY STRUCTURE

Our investment activities are managed by our investment adviser and supervised by our board of directors, a majority of whom are independent of Ares and its affiliates. Our investment adviser is registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, or the “Advisers Act.” Under our Second Amended and Restated Investment Advisory and Management Agreement with Ares Capital Management, referred to herein as our “investment advisory and management agreement,” we have agreed to pay our investment adviser base management fees based on our total assets, as defined under the Investment Company Act (other than cash and cash equivalents, but including assets purchased with borrowed funds) (“base management fees”), fees based on our net investment income (“income based fees”) and fees based on our net capital gains (“capital gains incentive fees”). See “Investment Advisory and Management Agreement.” Ares Operations provides us with certain administrative and other services necessary for us to operate pursuant to an Amended and Restated Administration Agreement, referred to herein as our “administration agreement.” See “Administration Agreement.”

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We have elected to be regulated as a BDC under the Investment Company Act and have elected to be treated as a regulated investment company (“RIC”) under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). As with other companies regulated by the Investment Company Act, we are required to comply with certain substantive regulatory requirements. For example, we are not generally permitted to co-invest in any portfolio company in which a fund managed by Ares or any of its downstream affiliates (other than us and our downstream affiliates) is also co-investing. On January 18, 2017, we received an order from the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) that permits us and other BDCs and registered closed-end management investment companies managed by Ares to co-invest in portfolio companies with each other and with affiliated investment funds (the “Co-investment Exemptive Order”). Co-investments made under the Co-investment Exemptive Order are subject to compliance with certain conditions and other requirements, which could limit our ability to participate in a co-investment transaction. On April 8, 2020, the SEC issued a conditional exemptive order that provided BDCs with temporary flexibility to engage in certain types of co-investment transactions (“Subject Transactions”). Although this relief expired on December 31, 2020, on January 5, 2021 the SEC stated that until March 31, 2021 it will not recommend enforcement action against any BDC with an existing co-investment order that engages in Subject Transactions. We may also otherwise co-invest with funds managed by Ares or any of its downstream affiliates, subject to compliance with existing regulatory guidance, applicable regulations and our allocation procedures.

Also, while we may borrow funds to make investments, our ability to use debt is limited in certain significant aspects. See “Regulation.” In particular, because we obtained the required approvals under Section 61(a)(2) of the Investment Company Act, we must have at least 150% asset coverage calculated pursuant to the Investment Company Act in order to incur debt or issue preferred stock (which we refer to collectively as “senior securities”) (i.e., we are able to borrow up to two dollars for every dollar we have in assets less all liabilities and indebtedness not represented by senior securities issued by us). See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Financial Condition, Liquidity and Capital Resources.”

As of December 31, 2020, our asset coverage was 182%.

In addition, as a consequence of our being a RIC under the Code, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, our asset growth is dependent on our ability to raise equity capital through the issuance of common stock. RICs generally must distribute substantially all of their investment company taxable income (as defined under the Code) to stockholders as dividends in order to preserve their status as a RIC and not to be subject to additional U.S. federal corporate-level income taxes. This requirement, in turn, generally prevents us from using our earnings to support our operations, including making new investments.

INVESTMENTS

Ares Capital Corporation Portfolio

We have built an investment portfolio of primarily first and second lien senior secured loans, subordinated debt, preferred equity and, to a lesser extent, common equity investments in private middle-market companies. Our portfolio is well diversified by industry sector and its concentration to any single issuer is limited.

Our debt investments in corporate borrowers generally range between $30 million and $500 million each and investments in project finance/power generation projects generally range between $10 million and $200 million each. However, the sizes of our investments may be more or less than these ranges and may vary based on, among other things, our capital availability, the composition of our portfolio and general micro- and macro-economic factors.

Our common equity investments have generally been non-control equity investments of less than $20 million (usually in conjunction with a concurrent debt investment). However, we may increase the size or change the nature of these investments.

The proportion of these types of investments will change over time given our views on, among other things, the economic and credit environment in which we are operating. In pursuit of our investment objective we generally seek to self-originate investments and lead the investment process, which may result in us making commitments with respect to indebtedness or securities of a potential portfolio company in excess of our expected final hold size. In such situations, while we may initially agree to fund up to a certain dollar amount of an investment, we may subsequently syndicate or sell a portion of such amount (including, without limitation, to vehicles managed by our portfolio company, IHAM), such that we are left with a smaller investment than what was reflected in our original commitment. In addition to originating investments, we may also acquire investments in the secondary market (including purchases of a portfolio of investments).

We make senior secured loans primarily in the form of first lien loans (including “unitranche” loans, which are loans that combine both senior and subordinated debt, generally in a first lien position) and second lien loans. Our senior secured
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loans generally have terms of three to 10 years and our subordinated debt investments generally have a term of up to 10 years. However, we may invest in loans and securities with any maturity or duration. In connection with our senior secured loans, we generally receive a security interest in certain of the assets of the borrower and consequently such assets serve as collateral in support of the repayment of such senior secured loans. Senior secured loans are generally exposed to the least amount of credit risk because they typically hold a senior position with respect to scheduled interest and principal payments and security interests in assets of the borrower. In connection with our senior secured loans, we may be provided opportunities to invest in equity interests of the borrower, typically in the form of an equity co-investment. However, unlike subordinated debt, senior secured loans typically do not receive any stock, warrants to purchase stock or other yield enhancements. Senior secured loans may include both revolving lines of credit and term loans.

Structurally, subordinated debt usually ranks junior in priority of payment to senior secured loans and is often unsecured. However, subordinated debt ranks senior to preferred and common equity in a borrower’s capital structure. Subordinated debt investments generally offer lenders fixed returns in the form of interest payments and will often provide lenders an opportunity to participate in the capital appreciation of a borrower, if any, through an equity interest. This equity interest typically takes the form of preferred equity, an equity co-investment and/or warrants. The preferred equity, equity co-investment and warrants (if any) associated with a subordinated debt investment typically allow lenders to receive repayment of their principal on an agreed amortization schedule while retaining their equity interest in the borrower. Equity issued in connection with subordinated debt also may include a “put” feature, which permits the holder to sell its equity interest back to the borrower at a price determined through an agreed formula.

In making an equity investment, in addition to considering the factors discussed under “—Investment Selection” below, we also consider the anticipated timing of a liquidity event, such as a public offering, sale of the company or redemption of our equity securities.

While our primary focus is to generate current income and capital appreciation through debt and equity investments in eligible portfolio companies, we also may invest up to 30% of our portfolio in non-qualifying assets, as permitted by the Investment Company Act. See “—Regulation.” Specifically, as part of this 30% basket, we may invest in entities that are not considered “eligible portfolio companies” (as defined in the Investment Company Act), including companies located outside of the United States, entities that are operating pursuant to certain exceptions under the Investment Company Act, and publicly traded entities whose public equity market capitalization exceeds the levels provided for under the Investment Company Act.

Senior Direct Lending Program

We have established a joint venture with Varagon Capital Partners (“Varagon”) to make certain first lien senior secured loans, including certain stretch senior and unitranche loans, primarily to U.S. middle-market companies. Varagon was formed in 2013 as a lending platform by American International Group, Inc. and other partners. The joint venture is called the Senior Direct Lending Program, LLC (d/b/a the “Senior Direct Lending Program” or the “SDLP”). In July 2016, we and Varagon and its clients completed the initial funding of the SDLP. The SDLP may generally commit and hold individual loans of up to $350 million. We may directly co‑invest with the SDLP to accommodate larger transactions. The SDLP is capitalized as transactions are completed and all portfolio decisions and generally all other decisions in respect of the SDLP must be approved by an investment committee of the SDLP consisting of representatives of ours and Varagon (with approval from a representative of each required).

We provide capital to the SDLP in the form of subordinated certificates (the “SDLP Certificates”), and Varagon and its clients provide capital to the SDLP in the form of senior notes, intermediate funding notes and SDLP Certificates. As of December 31, 2020, we and a client of Varagon owned 87.5% and 12.5%, respectively, of the outstanding SDLP Certificates. The SDLP Certificates pay a coupon equal to LIBOR plus a stated spread and also entitle the holders thereof to receive a portion of the excess cash flow from the loan portfolio, which may result in a return to the holders of the SDLP Certificates that is greater than the stated coupon. The SDLP Certificates are junior in right of payment to the senior notes and intermediate funding notes.

As of December 31, 2020, we and Varagon and its clients had agreed to make capital available to the SDLP of $6.2 billion in the aggregate, of which $1.4 billion is to be made available from us. We will continue to provide capital to the SDLP in the form of SDLP Certificates, and Varagon and its clients will provide capital to the SDLP in the form of senior notes, intermediate funding notes and SDLP Certificates. This capital will only be committed to the SDLP upon approval of transactions by the investment committee of the SDLP as discussed above.
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For more information on the SDLP, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Portfolio and Investment Activity—Senior Direct Lending Program” and Note 4 to our consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020.

Ivy Hill Asset Management, L.P.

As of December 31, 2020, our portfolio company, IHAM, an SEC-registered investment adviser, managed 21 vehicles and served as the sub-manager/sub-servicer for two other vehicles (such vehicles, the “IHAM Vehicles”). As of December 31, 2020, IHAM had assets under management of approximately $6.4 billion. As of December 31, 2020, the amortized cost and fair value of our investment in IHAM was $541 million and $628 million, respectively. In connection with IHAM’s registration as a registered investment adviser, on March 30, 2012, we received exemptive relief from the SEC allowing us to, subject to certain conditions, own directly or indirectly up to 100% of IHAM’s outstanding equity interests and make additional investments in IHAM. From time to time, IHAM or certain IHAM Vehicles may purchase investments from us or sell investments to us, in each case for a price equal to the fair market value of such investments determined at the time of such transactions.

Industry Composition

We generally seek to invest in companies in the industries in which Ares’ investment professionals have direct expertise. The industries in the table listed below are where we have focused our investing activities; however, we may invest in other industries if we are presented with attractive opportunities.

The industrial and geographic compositions of our portfolio at fair value as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 were as follows:
 As of December 31,
20202019
Industry
Health Care Services17.3 %20.3 %
Software & Services15.1 12.9 
Commercial & Professional Services8.0 8.5 
Investment Funds and Vehicles(1)7.5 7.0 
Consumer Services7.1 6.6 
Consumer Durables & Apparel6.3 6.0 
Diversified Financials6.0 5.3 
Automobiles & Components5.5 4.9 
Power Generation5.2 7.1 
Capital Goods5.1 4.2 
Insurance Services4.0 3.2 
Energy2.5 3.3 
Food & Beverage2.2 2.3 
Retailing & Distribution1.9 1.9 
Materials1.7 1.8 
Other4.6 4.7 
Total100.0 %100.0 %
_______________________________________________________________________________

(1)Includes our investment in the SDLP, which had made first lien senior secured loans to 23 and 23 different borrowers as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. The portfolio companies in the SDLP are in industries similar to the companies in our portfolio.

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 As of December 31,
 20202019
Geographic Region  
Midwest26.0 %27.3 %
West(1)24.9 23.7 
Southeast22.6 20.9 
Mid Atlantic16.7 17.0 
Northeast7.1 7.8 
International2.7 3.3 
Total100.0 %100.0 %
_______________________________________________________________________________

(1)Includes our investment in the SDLP, which represented 7.2% and 6.3% of the total investment portfolio at fair value as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

As of December 31, 2020, loans on non-accrual status represented 3.3% and 2.0% of the total investments at amortized cost and at fair value, respectively. As of December 31, 2019, loans on non-accrual status represented 1.9% and 0.9% of the total investments at amortized cost and at fair value, respectively.

Since our IPO on October 8, 2004 through December 31, 2020, our exited investments resulted in an asset level realized gross internal rate of return to us of approximately 14% (based on original cash invested, net of syndications, of approximately $30.4 billion and total proceeds from such exited investments of approximately $38.7 billion). Internal rate of return is the discount rate that makes the net present value of all cash flows related to a particular investment equal to zero. Internal rate of return is gross of expenses related to investments as these expenses are not allocable to specific investments. Investments are considered to be exited when the original investment objective has been achieved through the receipt of cash and/or non-cash consideration upon the repayment of a debt investment or sale of an investment or through the determination that no further consideration was collectible and, thus, a loss may have been realized. Approximately 58% of these exited investments resulted in an asset level realized gross internal rate of return to us of 10% or greater.

Additionally, since our IPO on October 8, 2004 through December 31, 2020, our realized gains have exceeded our realized losses by approximately $753 million (excluding a one-time gain on the acquisition of Allied Capital Corporation (“Allied Capital”) in April 2010 (the “Allied Acquisition”) and realized gains/losses from the extinguishment of debt and other assets). For the same time period, our average annualized net realized gain rate was approximately 1.0% (excluding a one-time gain on the Allied Acquisition and realized gains/losses from the extinguishment of debt and other assets). Net realized gain/loss rates for a particular period are the amount of net realized gains/losses during such period divided by the average quarterly investments at amortized cost in such period.

Information included herein regarding internal rates of return, realized gains and losses and annualized net realized gain rates are historical results relating to our past performance and are not necessarily indicative of future results, the achievement of which cannot be assured.

INVESTMENT SELECTION

Ares’ investment philosophy was developed over 20 years ago and has remained consistent and relevant throughout a number of economic cycles. We are managed using a similar investment philosophy used by the investment professionals of Ares in respect of its other investment funds.

This investment philosophy involves, among other things:

an assessment of the overall macroeconomic environment and financial markets and how such assessment may impact industry and asset selection;

company-specific research and analysis; and

with respect to each individual company, an emphasis on capital preservation, low volatility and minimization of downside risk.

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The foundation of Ares’ investment philosophy is intensive credit investment analysis, a portfolio management discipline based on both market technicals and fundamental value-oriented research, and diversification strategy. Ares also recognizes the importance of considering environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) factors in the investment-decision making process in accordance with its ESG policy. We follow a rigorous investment process based on:

a comprehensive analysis of issuer creditworthiness, including a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the issuer’s business;

an evaluation of management and its economic incentives;

an analysis of business strategy and industry trends; and

an in-depth examination of capital structure, financial results and projections.

We seek to identify those companies exhibiting superior fundamental risk-reward profiles and strong defensible business franchises while focusing on the relative value of the investment across the industry as well as for the specific company.

Intensive Due Diligence

The process through which an investment decision is made involves extensive research into the target company, its industry, its growth prospects and its ability to withstand adverse conditions. If the senior investment professional responsible for the potential transaction determines that an investment opportunity should be pursued, we will engage in an intensive due diligence process. Approximately 40-50% of the investments initially reviewed by us proceed to this phase. Though each transaction will involve a somewhat different approach, the regular due diligence steps generally undertaken include:

meeting with the target company’s management team to get a detailed review of the business, and to probe for potential weaknesses in business prospects;

checking management’s backgrounds and references;

performing a detailed review of historical financial performance, including performance through various economic cycles, and the quality of earnings;

reviewing both short and long term projections of the business, and sensitizing them for both upside and downside risk;

visiting headquarters and company operations and meeting with top and middle-level executives;

contacting customers and vendors to assess both business prospects and standard practices;

conducting a competitive analysis, and comparing the issuer to its main competitors on an operating, financial, market share and valuation basis;

researching the industry for historic growth trends and future prospects as well as to identify future exit alternatives (including available Wall Street research, industry association literature and general news);

assessing asset value and the ability of physical infrastructure and information systems to handle anticipated growth; and

investigating legal risks and financial and accounting systems.

Selective Investment Process

After an investment has been identified and preliminary diligence has been completed, a credit research and analysis report is prepared. This report is reviewed by the senior investment professional in charge of the potential investment. If such senior and other investment professionals are in favor of the potential investment, then it is first presented to the investment committee on a preliminary basis.

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After the investment committee approves continued work on the potential investment, a more extensive due diligence process is employed by the transaction team. Additional due diligence with respect to any investment may be conducted on our behalf by attorneys, independent accountants, and other third party consultants and research firms prior to the closing of the investment, as appropriate on a case-by-case basis. Approximately 10-15% of all investments initially reviewed by us will be presented to the investment committee. Approval of an investment for funding requires the approval of the majority of the investment committee of our investment adviser, although unanimous consent is sought.

Issuance of Formal Commitment

Once we have determined that a prospective portfolio company is suitable for investment, we work with the management and/or sponsor of that company and its other capital providers, including senior, junior and equity capital providers, if any, to finalize the structure of the investment. Approximately 3-5% of the investments initially reviewed by us eventually result in the issuance of formal commitments and the closing of such transactions.

Investments

We invest in portfolio companies primarily in the form of first lien senior secured loans (including “unitranche” loans which are loans that combine both senior and subordinated debt, generally in a first lien position), second lien senior secured loans, subordinated debt and preferred equity. The first and second lien senior secured loans generally have terms of three to 10 years. In connection with our first and second lien senior secured loans, we generally receive security interests in certain assets of our portfolio companies that could serve as collateral in support of the repayment of such loans. First and second lien senior secured loans generally have floating interest rates, which may have interest rate floors, and also may provide for some amortization of principal and excess cash flow payments, with the remaining principal balance due at maturity.

We structure our subordinated debt investments primarily as unsecured subordinated loans that provide for relatively higher fixed interest rates. The subordinated debt investments generally have terms of up to 10 years. These loans typically have interest-only payments, with amortization of principal, if any, deferred to the later years of the subordinated debt investment. In some cases, we may enter into loans that, by their terms, convert into equity or additional debt or defer payments of interest (or at least cash interest) for the first few years after our investment. Also, in some cases our subordinated debt will be secured by a subordinated lien on some or all of the assets of the borrower.

In some cases, our debt and preferred equity investments may provide for a portion of the interest or dividends payable to be payment-in-kind (“PIK”). To the extent interest or dividends are PIK, they will be payable through the increase of the principal amount of the loan or preferred equity security by the amount of interest or dividend due on the then-outstanding aggregate principal amount of such loan or preferred equity security and is generally collected upon repayment of the outstanding principal or redemption of the equity security, as applicable.

In the case of our first and second lien senior secured loans, subordinated debt and preferred equity investments, we tailor the terms of the investment to the facts and circumstances of the transaction and the prospective portfolio company, negotiating a structure that aims to protect our rights and manage our risk while creating incentives for the portfolio company to achieve its business plan and improve its profitability. For example, in addition to generally seeking a senior position in the capital structure of our portfolio companies, we will seek, where appropriate, to limit the downside potential of our investments by:

targeting a total return on our investments (including from both interest and potential equity appreciation) that compensates us for credit risk;

incorporating “put” rights, call protection and interest rate floors for floating rate loans, into the investment structure; and

negotiating covenants in connection with our investments that afford our portfolio companies as much flexibility in managing their businesses as possible, consistent with preservation of our capital. Such restrictions may include affirmative and negative covenants, default penalties, lien protection, change of control provisions and board rights, including either observation or participation rights.

We generally require financial covenants and terms that require an issuer to reduce leverage, thereby enhancing credit quality. These methods include: (a) maintenance leverage covenants requiring a decreasing ratio of indebtedness to cash flow over time, (b) maintenance cash flow covenants requiring an increasing ratio of cash flow to the sum of interest expense and capital expenditures and (c) indebtedness incurrence prohibitions, limiting a company’s ability to take on additional
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indebtedness. In addition, by including limitations on asset sales and capital expenditures we may be able to prevent a borrower from changing the nature of its business or capitalization without our consent.

Our subordinated debt investments may include equity features, such as warrants or options to buy a minority interest in the portfolio company. Warrants we receive with our debt investments may require only a nominal cost to exercise, and thus, as a portfolio company appreciates in value, we may achieve additional investment return from this equity interest. We may structure the warrants to provide provisions protecting our rights as a minority-interest holder, as well as puts, or rights to sell such securities back to the portfolio company, upon the occurrence of specified events. In many cases, we also obtain registration rights in connection with these equity interests, which may include demand and “piggyback” registration rights.

We believe that our focus on generating proprietary deal flow and lead investing gives us greater control over the capital structures and investment terms described above and enables us to actively manage our investments. Moreover, by leading the investment process, we are often able to secure controlling positions in loan tranches, thereby providing additional control in investment outcomes.

To a lesser extent, we also make common equity investments, which have generally been non-control equity investments of less than $20 million (usually in conjunction with a concurrent debt investment). However, we may increase the size or change the nature of these investments.

ACQUISITION OPPORTUNITIES

We believe that there may be opportunity for further consolidation in our industry. From time to time, we evaluate potential strategic opportunities, including acquisitions of:

asset portfolios; 

other private and public finance companies, business development companies and asset managers; and 

selected secondary market assets.

We have been in, and from time to time may engage in, discussions with counterparties in respect of various potential strategic acquisition and investment transactions, including potential acquisitions of other finance companies, business development companies and asset managers. Some of these transactions could be material to our business and, if completed, could be difficult to integrate, result in increased leverage or dilution and/or subject us to unexpected liabilities. However, none of these discussions has progressed to the point at which the completion of any such transaction could be deemed to be probable or reasonably certain as of the date of this Annual Report. Completion of any such transaction would be subject to completion of due diligence, finalization of key business and financial terms (including price) and negotiation of final definitive documentation as well as a number of other factors and conditions including, without limitation, the approval of our board of directors, any required third party consents and, in certain cases, the approval of our stockholders. We cannot predict how quickly the terms of any such transaction could be finalized, if at all. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that such transaction would be completed. In connection with evaluating potential strategic acquisition and investment transactions, we may incur significant expenses for the evaluation and due diligence investigation of these potential transactions.

ON-GOING RELATIONSHIPS WITH AND MONITORING OF PORTFOLIO COMPANIES

We closely monitor each investment we make, maintain a regular dialogue with both the management team and other stakeholders and seek specifically tailored financial reporting. In addition, senior investment professionals may take board seats or obtain board observation rights in connection with our portfolio companies. As of December 31, 2020, of our 350 portfolio companies, we were entitled to board seats or board observation rights on 23% of these companies and these companies represented approximately 38% of our portfolio at fair value.

In addition to covenants and other contractual rights and through board participation, when appropriate, we seek to enhance portfolio company performance post-investment by actively working with management on strategic and operating initiatives where there is an opportunity to do so. We often introduce managers of companies in which we have invested to other portfolio companies to capitalize on complementary business activities and best practices.

We believe that our focus on generating proprietary deal flow gives us greater control over capital structure and investment terms and lead investing enhances our ability to closely monitor each investment we make.

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Our investment adviser employs an investment rating system to categorize our investments. In addition to various risk management and monitoring tools, our investment adviser grades the credit risk of all investments on a scale of 1 to 4 no less frequently than quarterly. This system is intended primarily to reflect the underlying risk of a portfolio investment relative to our initial cost basis in respect of such portfolio investment (i.e., at the time of origination or acquisition), although it may also take into account under certain circumstances the performance of the portfolio company’s business, the collateral coverage of the investment and other relevant factors. Under this system, investments with a grade of 4 involve the least amount of risk to our initial cost basis. The trends and risk factors for this investment since origination or acquisition are generally favorable, which may include the performance of the portfolio company or a potential exit. Investments graded 3 involve a level of risk to our initial cost basis that is similar to the risk to our initial cost basis at the time of origination or acquisition. This portfolio company is generally performing as expected and the risk factors to our ability to ultimately recoup the cost of our investment are neutral to favorable. All investments or acquired investments in new portfolio companies are initially assessed a grade of 3. Investments graded 2 indicate that the risk to our ability to recoup the initial cost basis of such investment has increased materially since origination or acquisition, including as a result of factors such as declining performance and non-compliance with debt covenants; however, payments are generally not more than 120 days past due. An investment grade of 1 indicates that the risk to our ability to recoup the initial cost basis of such investment has substantially increased since origination or acquisition, and the portfolio company likely has materially declining performance. For debt investments with an investment grade of 1, most or all of the debt covenants are out of compliance and payments are substantially delinquent. For investments graded 1, it is anticipated that we will not recoup our initial cost basis and may realize a substantial loss of our initial cost basis upon exit. For investments graded 1 or 2, our investment adviser enhances its level of scrutiny over the monitoring of such portfolio company. The grade of a portfolio investment may be reduced or increased over time.

As of December 31, 2020, the weighted average grade of our portfolio at fair value was 3.0. For more information, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Portfolio and Investment Activity.”

MANAGERIAL ASSISTANCE

As a BDC, we must offer, and must provide upon request, significant managerial assistance to certain of our portfolio companies. This assistance could involve, among other things, monitoring the operations of our portfolio companies, participating in board and management meetings, consulting with and advising officers of portfolio companies and providing other organizational and financial guidance. Ares Operations may provide all or a portion of this assistance pursuant to our administration agreement, the costs of which will be reimbursed by us. We may receive fees for these services.

COMPETITION

Our primary competitors include public and private funds, commercial and investment banks, commercial finance companies, other BDCs and private equity funds, each of which we compete with for financing opportunities. Some of our competitors are substantially larger and have considerably greater financial and marketing resources than we do. For example, some competitors may have access to funding sources that are not available to us. In addition, some of our competitors may have higher risk tolerances or different risk assessments, which could allow them to consider more investments and establish more relationships than we do. Furthermore, many of our competitors are not subject to the regulatory restrictions that the Investment Company Act imposes on us as a BDC. For additional information concerning the competitive risks we face, see “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business—We operate in a highly competitive market for investment opportunities.”

We believe that the relationships of the members of our investment adviser’s investment committee and of the partners of Ares enable us to learn about, and compete effectively for, financing opportunities with attractive middle-market companies in the industries in which we seek to invest. We believe that Ares’ professionals’ deep and long-standing direct sponsor relationships and the resulting proprietary transaction opportunities that these relationships often present, provide valuable insight and access to transactions and information. We use the industry information of Ares’ investment professionals to which we have access to assess investment risks and determine appropriate pricing for our investments in portfolio companies.

STAFFING

We do not currently have any employees and do not expect to have any employees. Services necessary for our business are provided by individuals who are employees or affiliates of our investment adviser, Ares Capital Management, and our administrator, Ares Operations, each of which is a subsidiary of Ares Management, pursuant to the terms of our investment advisory and management agreement and our administration agreement, respectively, each as described below. Each of our executive officers is an employee or affiliate of our investment adviser or our administrator. Our day-to-day investment activities are managed by our investment adviser. Most of the services necessary for the origination of our investment portfolio
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are provided by investment professionals employed by Ares Capital Management. Ares Capital Management had approximately 120 U.S.-based investment professionals as of December 31, 2020 who focus on origination, transaction development, investment and the ongoing monitoring of our investments. See “Investment Advisory and Management Agreement” below. We reimburse both our investment adviser and our administrator for a certain portion of expenses incurred in connection with such staffing, as described in more detail below. Because we have no employees, Ares Capital does not have a formal employee relations policy.

INVESTMENT ADVISORY AND MANAGEMENT AGREEMENT

Management Services

Ares Capital Management serves as our investment adviser and is registered as an investment adviser under the Advisers Act. Subject to the overall supervision of our board of directors, our investment adviser manages the day-to-day operations of, and provides investment advisory and management services to, Ares Capital. Under the terms of the investment advisory and management agreement, our investment adviser:

determines the composition of our portfolio, the nature and timing of the changes to our portfolio and the manner of implementing such changes;

identifies, evaluates and negotiates the structure of the investments we make (including performing due diligence on our prospective portfolio companies);

closes and monitors the investments we make;

determines the investments and other assets that we purchase, retain or sell; and

provides us with such other investment advisory and research and related services as we may from time to time reasonably require.

Ares Capital Management’s services to us under the investment advisory and management agreement are not exclusive, and it is free to furnish similar services to other entities. Similarly, our investment adviser or its affiliates may directly or indirectly manage funds or other investment vehicles with investment objectives similar to ours. Accordingly, we may compete with these Ares funds or other investment vehicles managed by our investment adviser and its affiliates for capital and investment opportunities. Ares Capital Management endeavors to allocate investment opportunities in a fair and equitable manner, and in any event consistent with any fiduciary duties owed to Ares Capital. Nevertheless, it is possible that we may not be given the opportunity to participate in certain investments made by investment funds or other investment vehicles managed by our investment adviser or its affiliates. See “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business—There are significant potential conflicts of interest that could impact our investment returns.”

Base Management Fee
Pursuant to the investment advisory and management agreement and subject to the overall supervision of our board of directors, our investment adviser provides investment advisory and management services to us. For providing these services, our investment adviser receives fees from us consisting of a base management fee, an income based fee and a capital gains incentive fee.
The base management fee is calculated at an annual rate of 1.5% on all assets financed using leverage up to 1.0x debt to equity. For all assets financed using leverage over 1.0x debt to equity, the annual base management fee is calculated at an annual rate of 1.0%. The base management fee is based on the average value of our total assets (other than cash or cash equivalents but including assets purchased with borrowed funds) at the end of the two most recently completed calendar quarters and is calculated by applying the applicable fee rate. The base management fee is payable quarterly in arrears.
Income Based Fee
The income based fee is calculated and payable quarterly in arrears based on our pre-incentive fee net investment income, as defined in the investment advisory and management agreement, for the quarter. Pre-incentive fee net investment income means interest income, dividend income and any other income (including any other fees such as commitment, origination, structuring, diligence and consulting fees or other fees that we receive from portfolio companies but excluding fees for providing managerial assistance) accrued during the calendar quarter, minus operating expenses for the quarter (including
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the base management fee, any expenses payable under the administration agreement, and any interest expense and dividends paid on any outstanding preferred stock, but excluding the income based fee and capital gains incentive fee accrued under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”)). Pre-incentive fee net investment income includes, in the case of investments with a deferred interest feature such as market discount, debt instruments with PIK interest, preferred stock with PIK dividends and zero coupon securities, accrued income that we have not yet received in cash. Our investment adviser is not under any obligation to reimburse us for any part of the income based fees it received that were based on accrued interest that we never actually received. See “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business—There are significant potential conflicts of interest that could impact our investment returns” and “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business—We may be obligated to pay our investment adviser certain fees even if we incur a loss.”
Pre-incentive fee net investment income does not include any realized capital gains, realized capital losses, unrealized capital appreciation, unrealized capital depreciation or income tax expense related to realized gains and losses. Because of the structure of the income based fee, it is possible that we may pay such fees in a quarter where we incur a loss. For example, if we receive pre-incentive fee net investment income in excess of the hurdle rate for a quarter, we will pay the applicable income based fee even if we have incurred a loss in that quarter due to realized and/or unrealized capital losses.
Pre-incentive fee net investment income, expressed as a rate of return on the value of our net assets (defined as total assets less indebtedness and before taking into account any income based fees and capital gains incentive fees payable during the period) at the end of the immediately preceding calendar quarter, is compared to a fixed “hurdle rate” of 1.75% per quarter. If market credit spreads rise, we may be able to invest our funds in debt instruments that provide for a higher return, which may increase our pre-incentive fee net investment income and make it easier for our investment adviser to surpass the fixed hurdle rate and receive an income based fee based on such net investment income. To the extent we have retained pre-incentive fee net investment income that has been used to calculate the income based fee, it is also included in the amount of our total assets (other than cash and cash equivalents but including assets purchased with borrowed funds) used to calculate the base management fee.
We pay our investment adviser an income based fee with respect to our pre-incentive fee net investment income in each calendar quarter as follows:
No income based fee in any calendar quarter in which our pre-incentive fee net investment income does not exceed the hurdle rate;

100% of our pre-incentive fee net investment income with respect to that portion of such pre-incentive fee net investment income, if any, that exceeds the hurdle rate but is less than 2.1875% in any calendar quarter. We refer to this portion of our pre-incentive fee net investment income (which exceeds the hurdle rate but is less than 2.1875%) as the “catch-up” provision. The “catch-up” is meant to provide our investment adviser with 20% of the pre-incentive fee net investment income as if a hurdle rate did not apply if this net investment income exceeded 2.1875% in any calendar quarter; and

20% of the amount of our pre-incentive fee net investment income, if any, that exceeds 2.1875% in any calendar quarter.
 
The following is a graphical representation of the calculation of the income based fee:
Quarterly Income Based Fee Based on Net Investment Income

Pre-incentive fee net investment income return
(expressed as a percentage of the value of net assets)

incentiveimagea391a.jpg

Percentage of pre-incentive fee net investment income
allocated to income based fee

These calculations are adjusted for any share issuances or repurchases during the quarter.
    
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In connection with the acquisition of American Capital, Ltd. (“American Capital”) (the “American Capital Acquisition”), our investment adviser waived $10 million of income based fees for each of the ten calendar quarters beginning with the second calendar quarter of 2017 and ending with the third calendar quarter of 2019 (the “Fee Waiver”).

Capital Gains Incentive Fee

The capital gains incentive fee is determined and payable in arrears as of the end of each calendar year (or, upon termination of our investment advisory and management agreement, as of the termination date) and is calculated at the end of each applicable year by subtracting (a) the sum of our cumulative aggregate realized capital losses and aggregate unrealized capital depreciation from (b) our cumulative aggregate realized capital gains, in each case calculated from October 8, 2004, (the date we completed our IPO). Realized capital gains and losses include gains and losses on investments and foreign currencies, gains and losses on extinguishment of debt and from other assets, as well as any income tax and other expenses related to cumulative aggregate realized gains and losses. If such amount is positive at the end of such year, then the capital gains incentive fee for such year is equal to 20% of such amount, less the aggregate amount of capital gains incentive fees paid in all prior years. If such amount is negative, then there is no capital gains incentive fee for such year.

The cumulative aggregate realized capital gains are calculated as the sum of the differences, if positive, between (a) the net sales price of each investment in our portfolio when sold and (b) the accreted or amortized cost basis of such investment.
The cumulative aggregate realized capital losses are calculated as the sum of the amounts by which (a) the net sales price of each investment in our portfolio when sold is less than (b) the accreted or amortized cost basis of such investment.
The aggregate unrealized capital depreciation is calculated as the sum of the differences, if negative, between (a) the valuation of each investment in our portfolio as of the applicable capital gains incentive fee calculation date and (b) the accreted or amortized cost basis of such investment.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, as a result of an amendment to the capital gains incentive fee under the investment advisory and management agreement that was adopted on June 6, 2011, if we are required by GAAP to record an investment at its fair value as of the time of acquisition instead of at the actual amount paid for such investment by us (including, for example, as a result of the application of the asset acquisition method of accounting), then solely for the purposes of calculating the capital gains incentive fee, the “accreted or amortized cost basis” of an investment shall be an amount (the “Contractual Cost Basis”) equal to (1) (x) the actual amount paid by us for such investment plus (y) any amounts recorded in our financial statements as required by GAAP that are attributable to the accretion of such investment plus (z) any other adjustments made to the cost basis included in our financial statements, including PIK interest or additional amounts funded (net of repayments) minus (2) any amounts recorded in our financial statements as required by GAAP that are attributable to the amortization of such investment, whether such calculated Contractual Cost Basis is higher or lower than the fair value of such investment (as determined in accordance with GAAP) at the time of acquisition.
We defer cash payment of any income based fee and the capital gains incentive fee otherwise earned by our investment adviser if during the most recent four full calendar quarter period ending on or prior to the date such payment is to be made the sum of (a) the aggregate distributions to our stockholders and (b) the change in net assets (defined as total assets less indebtedness and before taking into account any income based fees and capital gains incentive fees payable during the period) is less than 7.0% of our net assets (defined as total assets less indebtedness) at the beginning of such period. Any deferred income based fees and capital gains incentive fees are carried over for payment in subsequent calculation periods to the extent such payment is payable under our investment advisory and management agreement.
Payment of Our Expenses

The services of all investment professionals and staff of our investment adviser, when and to the extent engaged in providing investment advisory and management services to us and routine overhead expenses of such personnel allocable to such services, are provided and paid for by our investment adviser. Under the investment advisory and management agreement, we bear all other costs and expenses of our operations and transactions, including, but not limited to, those relating to: organization; calculation of our net asset value (including, but not limited to, the cost and expenses of any independent valuation firm); expenses incurred by our investment adviser payable to third parties, including agents, consultants or other advisers, in monitoring our financial and legal affairs and in monitoring our investments (including the cost of consultants hired to develop information technology systems designed to monitor our investments) and performing due diligence on our prospective portfolio companies; interest payable on indebtedness, if any, incurred to finance our investments (including payments to third party vendors for financial information services); offerings of our common stock and other securities;
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investment advisory and management fees; administration fees; fees payable to third parties, including agents, attorneys, consultants or other advisers, relating to, or associated with, evaluating, negotiating with and making investments in portfolio companies, regardless of whether such transactions are ultimately consummated; transfer agent and custodial fees; registration fees; listing fees; taxes; independent directors’ fees and expenses; costs of preparing and filing reports or other documents with the SEC; the costs of any reports, proxy statements or other notices to stockholders, including printing costs; to the extent we are covered by any joint insurance policies, our allocable portion of the insurance premiums for such policies; direct costs and expenses of administration, including auditor and legal costs; and all other expenses incurred by us or our administrator in connection with administering our business as described in more detail under “—Administration Agreement” below.

Duration, Termination and Amendment

At a meeting of our board of directors on May 28, 2020, our board of directors, including a majority of the directors who are not “interested persons” of the Company as defined in the Investment Company Act, voted to approve the continuation of our investment advisory and management agreement, which extended the terms of the agreement until June 6, 2021. Such meeting was held via videoconference pursuant to the exemptive relief granted under SEC Release No. 33817, dated March 13, 2020. See “Regulation.”

Unless terminated earlier, our investment advisory and management agreement will renew for successive annual periods if approved annually by our board of directors or by the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of our outstanding voting securities, and, in either case, approval by a majority of our directors who are not “interested persons” of the Company (as defined in the Investment Company Act). Our investment advisory and management agreement will automatically terminate in the event of its assignment (as defined in the Investment Company Act). The investment advisory and management agreement may be terminated by either party without penalty upon 60 days’ written notice to the other party.

In voting to approve the investment advisory and management agreement, our independent directors consulted in executive session with their independent legal counsel regarding the approval of such agreement. In reaching a decision to approve the investment advisory and management agreement, our board of directors reviewed a significant amount of information and considered, among other things:

(i)    the nature, extent and quality of the services provided to the Company by our investment adviser;

(ii)    the advisory fees paid by the Company under the investment advisory and management agreement as compared to the advisory fees paid by other funds and accounts managed by our investment adviser with similar investment strategies as well as the fees and expenses of comparable BDCs;

(iii)    the long- and short-term investment performance of the Company and our investment adviser;

(iv)    the costs of the services provided by our investment adviser (including the base management fee, the income based fee (including the Fee Waiver) and the capital gains incentive fee (including the applicable hurdle rates and conditions for the deferral of fee payments) and expense ratios) under the investment advisory and management agreement and comparative data based on publicly available information;

(v)    the potential for, and sharing of, economies of scale in investment management given the directly originated nature of the Company’s investment portfolio and resources dedicated by our investment adviser thereto;

(vi)    our investment adviser’s pro forma profitability with respect to managing the Company based on financial information provided by our investment adviser;

(vii)    additional benefits to be derived by our investment adviser and its affiliates as a result of our relationship with our investment adviser; and

(viii)    various other matters, including the alignment of interests of our stockholders.

In voting to approve the investment advisory and management agreement, our board of directors, including all of the directors who are not “interested persons,” of the Company, made the following conclusions:

Nature, Extent and Quality of Services. Our board of directors considered the nature, extent and quality of the investment selection process employed by our investment adviser, including the flow of transaction opportunities resulting from Ares Capital Management’s investment professionals’ significant capital markets, trading and
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research expertise, the employment of Ares Capital Management’s investment philosophy, diligence procedures, credit recommendation process, investment structuring, and ongoing relationships with and monitoring of portfolio companies, in light of the investment objective of the Company. Our board of directors also considered our investment adviser’s personnel and their prior experience in connection with the types of investments made by us, including such personnel’s network of relationships with intermediaries focused on U.S. middle-market companies and other companies in which we may make investments. Our board of directors also considered the benefit and increasing costs of our investment adviser continuing to be able to recruit and retain top talent. In addition, our board of directors considered the other terms and conditions of the investment advisory and management agreement, including that the substantive terms of the investment advisory and management agreement (other than the fees payable thereunder, which our board of directors reviewed separately) are generally the same as those of comparable BDCs described in the available market data and that it would be difficult to obtain similar services of similar quality on a comparable basis from other third party service providers or through an internally managed structure. In addition, our board of directors considered the fact that we have the ability to terminate the investment advisory and management agreement without penalty upon 60 days’ written notice to our investment adviser. Our board of directors further determined that our investment adviser is served by a dedicated origination, transaction development and investment team of investment professionals, and that these investment professionals have historically focused on investments in U.S. middle-market companies and other companies in which we may make investments, which experience and relationships coincide with our investment objective and generally equal or exceed those of the management teams or investment advisers of other comparable BDCs described in the available market data.

Investment Performance. Our board of directors reviewed the long-term and short-term investment performance of the Company and our investment adviser, as well as comparative data based on publicly available information with respect to the long-term and short-term investment performance of other externally managed BDCs and their investment advisers. Our board of directors noted the longevity and consistency of the Company’s investment performance and determined that our investment adviser was delivering results consistent with the investment objective of the Company and that the Company’s investment performance was generally above average when compared to comparable BDCs, including based on one, three and five year time periods. Our board of directors further determined that in light of the performance history of the Company, our investment adviser’s extensive experience with our particular investment objectives and policies and our investment adviser’s commitment to the Company, our investment adviser was well-positioned to manage our investment performance, including through the volatile market conditions caused by the novel Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic, with the approval of the investment advisory and management agreement.

Costs of the Services Provided to the Company. Our board of directors considered (i) comparative data based on publicly available information with respect to services rendered and the advisory fees (including the base management fee, income based fee and capital gains incentive fee or similar fees (including applicable hurdle rates, other payment conditions and/or fee waivers)) of other BDCs with similar investment objectives, our operating expenses and expense ratios compared to other BDCs of similar size and with similar investment objectives and (ii) the administrative services that our administrator will provide to us at cost. Further, our board of directors considered comparative information with respect to the advisory fees paid by the Company as compared to the advisory fees paid by other funds and accounts managed by our investment adviser with similar investment strategies, and considered the rationale for the differences in fees, including, but not limited to, differences in investment objectives and investment strategies as well as the regulated nature of the Company.

Economies of Scale. Our board of directors considered information about the potential for our stockholders to experience economies of scale as we grow in size.

In view of the wide variety of material factors that our board of directors considered in connection with its evaluation of the investment advisory and management agreement, it is not practical to quantify, rank or otherwise assign relative weights to the specific factors it considered in reaching its decision. Our board of directors did not undertake to make any specific determination as to whether any particular factor, or any aspect of any particular factor, was favorable or unfavorable to the ultimate determination of our board of directors. Rather, our board of directors based its approval on the totality of information presented to, and the investigation conducted by, it. In considering the factors discussed above, individual directors may have given different weights to different factors.

Based on the information reviewed and the factors discussed above, our directors (including those directors who are not “interested persons” of the Company) concluded that the terms of the investment advisory and management agreement,
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including the fee rates thereunder, are fair and reasonable in relation to the services provided and approved the investment advisory and management agreement as being in the best interests of the Company and its stockholders.

Conflicts of interest may arise if our investment adviser seeks to change the terms of our investment advisory and management agreement, including, for example, the amount of the base management fee, the income based fee, the capital gains incentive fee or other compensation terms. Material amendments to our investment advisory and management agreement must be approved by the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of our outstanding voting securities and by a majority of our independent directors, and we may from time to time decide it is appropriate to seek the requisite approval to change the terms of the agreement.

Indemnification

The investment advisory and management agreement provides that, absent willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence in the performance of its duties or by reason of the reckless disregard of its duties and obligations, our investment adviser, its members and their respective officers, managers, partners, agents, employees, controlling persons and members and any other persons affiliated with it are entitled to indemnification from us for any damages, liabilities, costs and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees and amounts reasonably paid in settlement) arising from the rendering of our investment adviser’s services under the investment advisory and management agreement or otherwise as our investment adviser.

Organization of our Investment Adviser

Our investment adviser is a Delaware limited liability company that is registered as an investment adviser under the Advisers Act. The principal executive offices of Ares Capital Management are located at 2000 Avenue of the Stars, 12th Floor, Los Angeles, California 90067.

ADMINISTRATION AGREEMENT

We are also party to an administration agreement, referred to herein as the “administration agreement”, with our administrator, Ares Operations. Our board of directors approved the continuation of our administration agreement on May 28, 2020, which extended the term of the agreement until June 1, 2021. Pursuant to the administration agreement, Ares Operations furnishes us with office equipment and clerical, bookkeeping and record keeping services at our office facilities. Under the administration agreement, Ares Operations also performs, or oversees the performance of, our required administrative services, which include, among other things, providing assistance in accounting, legal, compliance, operations, technology and investor relations, being responsible for the financial records that we are required to maintain and preparing reports to our stockholders and reports filed with the SEC. In addition, Ares Operations assists us in determining and publishing our net asset value, assists us in providing managerial assistance to our portfolio companies, oversees the preparation and filing of our tax returns and the printing and dissemination of reports to our stockholders, and generally oversees the payment of our expenses and the performance of administrative and professional services rendered to us by others. Payments under the administration agreement are equal to an amount based upon our allocable portion of Ares Operations’ overhead and other expenses (including travel expenses) incurred by Ares Operations in performing its obligations under the administration agreement, including our allocable portion of the compensation, rent and other expenses of certain of our officers (including our chief compliance officer, chief financial officer, chief accounting officer, general counsel, secretary, treasurer and assistant treasurer) and their respective staffs. The administration agreement may be terminated by either party without penalty upon 60 days’ written notice to the other party.

For each of the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we incurred $13 million and $14 million, respectively, in administrative fees. As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, $3 million and $3 million, respectively, of the administrative fees were unpaid and included in “accounts payable and other liabilities” in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets.

Indemnification

The administration agreement provides that, absent willful misfeasance, bad faith or negligence in the performance of its duties or by reason of the reckless disregard of its duties and obligations, Ares Operations, its members and their respective officers, managers, partners, agents, employees, controlling persons and members and any other persons or entities affiliated with it are entitled to indemnification from us for any damages, liabilities, costs and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees and amounts reasonably paid in settlement) arising from the rendering of Ares Operations’ services under the administration agreement or otherwise as our administrator.

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LICENSE AGREEMENT

Ares Management LLC, the sole member of Ares Capital Management, has granted us a non‑exclusive, royalty‑free license to use the name “Ares” pursuant to a license agreement. Under this agreement, we will have a right to use the Ares name for so long as Ares Capital Management remains our investment adviser. Other than with respect to this limited license, we have no legal right to the “Ares” name.

LEVERAGE

We may from time to time borrow funds to make investments, a practice known as “leverage,” to attempt to increase returns to our stockholders. With certain limited exceptions, we are only allowed to borrow amounts such that our asset coverage, as calculated in accordance with the Investment Company Act, equals at least 150% after such borrowing (i.e., we are able to borrow up to two dollars for every dollar we have in assets less all liabilities and indebtedness not represented by senior securities issued by us).

The amount of leverage that we employ at any particular time will depend on our investment adviser’s and our board of directors’ assessments of market and other factors at the time of any proposed borrowing. As of February 4, 2021, we had $8.1 billion in total aggregate principal amount of debt outstanding under the various debt instruments described below. See “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business—We borrow money, which magnifies the potential for gain or loss on amounts invested and may increase the risk of investing with us.”

We may from time to time seek to retire or repurchase our common stock through cash purchases, as well as retire, cancel or purchase our outstanding debt through cash purchases and/or exchanges, in open market purchases, privately negotiated transactions or otherwise. Such repurchases or exchanges, if any, will depend on prevailing market conditions, our liquidity requirements, contractual and regulatory restrictions and other factors. The amounts involved may be material.

We are party to a senior secured revolving credit facility (as amended and restated, the “Revolving Credit Facility”), which allows us to borrow up to $3.6 billion at any one time outstanding. The Revolving Credit Facility consists of a $740 million term loan tranche and a $2.9 billion revolving tranche. For $699 million of the term loan tranche, the stated maturity date is March 30, 2025. For the remaining $41 million of the term loan tranche, the stated maturity date is March 30, 2024. For $2.7 billion revolving tranche, the end of the revolving period and the stated maturity date are March 30, 2024 and March 30, 2025, respectively. For the remaining $124 million of the revolving tranche, the end of the revolving period and the stated maturity date are March 30, 2023 and March 30, 2024, respectively. The Revolving Credit Facility also provides for a feature that allows us, under certain circumstances, to increase the overall size of the Revolving Credit Facility to a maximum of $5.4 billion. The interest rate charged on the Revolving Credit Facility is based on an applicable spread of either 1.75% or 1.875% over LIBOR or 0.75% or 0.875% over an “alternate base rate” (as defined in the agreements governing the Revolving Credit Facility), in each case, determined monthly based on the total amount of the borrowing base relative to the total commitments of the Revolving Credit Facility and other debt, if any, secured by the same collateral as the Revolving Credit Facility.

We and our consolidated subsidiary, Ares Capital CP Funding LLC (“Ares Capital CP”) are party to the Revolving Funding Facility (as amended, the “Revolving Funding Facility”), which allows Ares Capital CP to borrow up to $1.5 billion at any one time outstanding. The Revolving Funding Facility is secured by all of the assets held by, and the membership interest in, Ares Capital CP. The end of the reinvestment period and the stated maturity date for the Revolving Funding Facility are January 31, 2023 and January 31, 2025, respectively. The interest rate charged on the Revolving Funding Facility is based on LIBOR plus 2.00% per annum or a “base rate” (as defined in the agreements governing the Revolving Funding Facility) plus 1.00% per annum. Ares Capital CP is also required to pay a commitment fee of between 0.50% and 1.50% per annum depending on the size of the unused portion of the Revolving Funding Facility.

We and our consolidated subsidiary, Ares Capital JB Funding LLC (“ACJB”), are party to a revolving funding facility (as amended, the “SMBC Funding Facility”), which allows ACJB to borrow up to $725 million at any one time outstanding. The SMBC Funding Facility is secured by all of the assets held by ACJB. The end of the reinvestment period and the stated maturity date for the SMBC Funding Facility are September 10, 2022 and September 10, 2024, respectively. The reinvestment period and the stated maturity date are both subject to two one-year extensions by mutual agreement. The SMBC Funding Facility also provides for a feature that allows ACJB, subject to receiving certain consents, to increase the overall size of the SMBC Funding Facility to $1.0 billion. The interest rate charged on the SMBC Funding Facility is based on an applicable spread of either 1.75% or 2.00% over LIBOR or 0.75% or 1.00% over a “base rate” (as defined in the agreements governing the SMBC Funding Facility), in each case, determined monthly based on the amount of the average borrowings outstanding under the SMBC Funding Facility.

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We and our consolidated subsidiary, ARCC FB Funding LLC (“AFB”), are party to a revolving funding facility (as amended, the “BNP Funding Facility”), which allows AFB to borrow up to $300 million at any one time outstanding. The BNP Funding Facility is secured by all of the assets held by AFB. The end of the reinvestment period and the stated maturity date for the BNP Funding Facility are June 11, 2023 and June 11, 2025, respectively. The reinvestment period and the stated maturity date are both subject to a one-year extension by mutual agreement. The interest rate charged on the BNP Funding Facility is based on three-month LIBOR (subject to a floor of 0.45%), or over a “base rate” (as defined in the agreements governing the BNP Funding Facility) plus a margin that generally ranges between 2.65% and 3.15% (depending on the types of assets such advances relate to), with a weighted average floor for all classes of advances of (i) 2.75% during the reinvestment period and (ii) 3.25% following the reinvestment period.

We have approximately $791 million aggregate principal amount of unsecured convertible notes outstanding comprised of $388 million aggregate principal amount of unsecured convertible notes that mature on February 1, 2022 (the “2022 Convertible Notes”) and $403 million aggregate principal amount of unsecured convertible notes that mature on March 1, 2024 (the “2024 Convertible Notes” and together with the 2022 Convertible Notes, the “Convertible Unsecured Notes”). The Convertible Unsecured Notes mature upon their maturity date unless previously converted or repurchased in accordance with their terms. We do not have the right to redeem the Convertible Unsecured Notes prior to maturity. The 2022 Convertible Notes and the 2024 Convertible Notes bear interest at a rate of 3.75% and 4.625%, respectively, per annum, payable semi-annually.

We have approximately $5.6 billion in aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes outstanding comprised of $600 million in aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes that mature on January 19, 2022 and bear interest at a rate of 3.625% (the “2022 Notes”), $750 million in aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes that mature on February 10, 2023 and bear interest at a rate of 3.500% (the “2023 Notes”), $900 million in aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes that mature on June 10, 2024 and bear interest at a rate of 4.200% (the “2024 Notes”), $600 million in aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes that mature on March 1, 2025 and bear interest at a rate of 4.250% (the “March 2025 Notes”), $750 million in aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes that mature on July 15, 2025 and bear interest at a rate of 3.250% (the “July 2025 Notes”), $1,150 million in aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes that mature on January 15, 2026 and bear interest at a rate of 3.875% (the “January 2026 Notes”), $650 million in aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes that mature on July 15, 2026 and bear interest at a rate of 2.150% (the “July 2026 Notes”) and $230 million in aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes that mature on April 15, 2047 and bear interest at a rate of 6.875% (the “2047 Notes”). The 2047 Notes are listed on The New York Stock Exchange. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Recent Developments” as well as Note 17 to our consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020 for more information regarding the issuance of the July 2026 Notes.

We intend to continue borrowing under the Revolving Credit Facility, the Revolving Funding Facility, the SMBC Funding Facility and the BNP Funding Facility (together the “Facilities”) in the future and we may increase the size of the Facilities, add additional credit facilities or otherwise issue additional debt securities or other evidences of indebtedness in the future, although there can be no assurance that we will be able to do so.

For more information on our debt, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Financial Condition, Liquidity and Capital Resources.”

REGULATION

We have elected to be regulated as a BDC under the Investment Company Act and have elected to be treated as a RIC under the Code. As with other companies regulated by the Investment Company Act, a BDC must adhere to certain substantive regulatory requirements. The Investment Company Act contains prohibitions and restrictions relating to certain transactions between BDCs and certain affiliates (including any investment advisers or sub-advisers), principal underwriters and certain affiliates of those affiliates or underwriters. Among other things, we generally cannot co-invest in any portfolio company in which a fund managed by Ares or any of its downstream affiliates other than us and our downstream affiliates) is also co-investing. On January 18, 2017, we received the Co-investment Exemptive Order from the SEC that permits us and other business development companies and registered closed-end management investment companies managed by Ares to co-invest in portfolio companies with each other and with affiliated investment funds. Co-investments made under the Co-investment Exemptive Order are subject to compliance with certain conditions and other requirements contained in the Co-investment Exemptive Order, which could limit our ability to participate in a co-investment transaction. On April 8, 2020, the SEC issued a conditional exemptive order that provided BDCs with temporary flexibility to engage in certain types of Subject Transactions. Although this relief expired on December 31, 2020, on January 5, 2021, the SEC stated that until March 31, 2021 it will not recommend enforcement action against any BDC with an existing co-investment order that engages in Subject Transactions.
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We may also co-invest with funds managed by Ares or any of its downstream affiliates, subject to compliance with existing regulatory guidance, applicable regulations and our allocation procedures.

The Investment Company Act contains certain restrictions on certain types of investments we may make. Specifically, we may only invest up to 30% of our portfolio in entities that are not considered “eligible portfolio companies” (as defined in the Investment Company Act), including companies located outside of the United States, entities that are operating pursuant to certain exceptions under the Investment Company Act, and publicly traded entities whose public equity market capitalization exceeds the levels provided for under the Investment Company Act.

The Investment Company Act also requires that a majority of our directors be persons other than “interested persons,” as that term is defined in Section 2(a)(19) of the Investment Company Act, referred to herein as “independent directors.” In addition, the Investment Company Act provides that we may not change the nature of our business so as to cease to be, or to withdraw our election as, a BDC unless that change is approved by holders of at least a majority of our outstanding voting securities. Under the Investment Company Act, the vote of holders of at least a “majority of outstanding voting securities” means the vote of the holders of the lesser of: (a) 67% or more of the outstanding shares of our common stock present at a meeting or represented by proxy if holders of more than 50% of the shares of our common stock are present or represented by proxy or (b) more than 50% of the outstanding shares of our common stock.

Under the Investment Company Act, we are not generally able to issue and sell our common stock at a price below net asset value per share. We may, however, sell our common stock, or warrants, options or rights to acquire our common stock, at a price below the current net asset value per share of our common stock if our board of directors determines that such sale is in our best interests and the best interests of our stockholders, and our stockholders approve such sale. Pursuant to approval granted at a special meeting of stockholders held on August 13, 2020, we currently are permitted to sell or otherwise issue shares of our common stock at a price below net asset value, subject to certain limitations and determinations that must be made by our board of directors. Such stockholder approval expires on August 13, 2021.

We may invest up to 100% of our assets in securities acquired directly from issuers in privately negotiated transactions. Our intention is to not write (sell) or buy put or call options to manage risks associated with the publicly traded securities of our portfolio companies. We may enter into hedging transactions to manage the risks associated with interest rate and currency fluctuations. We may purchase or otherwise receive warrants or options to purchase the common stock of our portfolio companies in connection with acquisition financings or other investments. In connection with such an acquisition, we may acquire rights to require the issuers of acquired securities or their affiliates to repurchase them under certain circumstances.

We also do not intend to acquire securities issued by any investment company that exceed the limits imposed by the Investment Company Act. Under these limits, we generally cannot acquire more than 3% of the voting stock of any investment company (as defined in the Investment Company Act), invest more than 5% of the value of our total assets in the securities of one investment company or invest more than 10% of the value of our total assets in the securities of investment companies in the aggregate unless certain conditions are met. With regard to that portion of our portfolio invested in securities issued by investment companies, it should be noted that such investments might subject our stockholders to additional expenses.

We are currently allowed to borrow amounts or issue debt securities or preferred stock, which we refer to collectively as “senior securities,” such that our asset coverage, as calculated pursuant to the Investment Company Act, equals at least 150% immediately after such borrowing (i.e., we are able to borrow up to two dollars for every dollar we have in assets less all liabilities and indebtedness not represented by senior securities issued by us).

PRIVACY PRINCIPLES

We endeavor to maintain the privacy of our recordholders and to safeguard their non-public personal information. The following information is provided to help our recordholders understand what personal information we collect, how we protect that information and why, in certain cases, we may share information with select other parties.

Generally, we will not receive any non-public personal information about recordholders of our common stock, although certain of our recordholders’ non-public information may become available to us. The non-public personal information that we may receive falls into the following categories:

information we receive from recordholders, whether we receive it orally, in writing or electronically. This includes recordholders’ communications to us concerning their investment;

information about recordholders’ transactions and history with us; and
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other general information that we may obtain about recordholders, such as demographic and contact information such as address.

We disclose non-public personal information about recordholders:

to our affiliates (such as our investment adviser and administrator) and their employees for everyday business purposes;

to our service providers (such as our accountants, attorneys, custodians, transfer agent, underwriters and proxy solicitors) and their employees, as is necessary to service recordholder accounts or otherwise provide the applicable service;

to comply with court orders, subpoenas, lawful discovery requests or other legal or regulatory requirements; or

as allowed or required by applicable law or regulation.

When we share non-public recordholder personal information referred to above, the information is made available for limited business purposes and under controlled circumstances designed to protect our recordholders’ privacy. We do not permit use of recordholder information for any non-business or marketing purpose, nor do we permit third parties to rent, sell, trade or otherwise release or disclose information to any other party.

Our service providers, such as our investment adviser, administrator and transfer agent, are required to maintain physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards to protect recordholder non-public personal information, to prevent unauthorized access or use and to dispose of such information when it is no longer required.

Personnel of affiliates may access recordholder information only for business purposes. The degree of access is based on the sensitivity of the information and on personnel need for the information to service a recordholder’s account or comply with legal requirements.

If a recordholder ceases to be a recordholder, we will adhere to the privacy policies and practices as described above. We may choose to modify our privacy policies at any time. Before we do so, we will notify recordholders and provide a description of our privacy policy.

In the event of a corporate change in control resulting from, for example, a sale to, or merger with, another entity, or in the event of a sale of assets, we reserve the right to transfer non-public personal information of holders of our securities to the new party in control or the party acquiring assets.

AVAILABLE INFORMATION

We file with or submit to the SEC annual, quarterly and current periodic reports, proxy statements and other information meeting the informational requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). This information is available free of charge by calling us collect at (310) 201-4200 or on our website at www.arescapitalcorp.com. Information contained on our website is not incorporated into this Annual Report and you should not consider such information to be part of this Annual Report. Such information is also available from the EDGAR database on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.

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Item 1A.    Risk Factors

RISK FACTORS

You should carefully consider the risk factors described below, together with all of the other information included in this Annual Report, including our consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto, before you decide whether to make an investment in our securities. The risks set out below are not the only risks we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem to be immaterial also may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and/or operating results. If any of the following events occur, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. In such case, the net asset value of our common stock and the trading price, if any, of our securities could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment.

RISK FACTOR SUMMARY

The following is a summary of the principal risks that you should carefully consider before investing in our securities.

The capital markets may experience periods of disruption and instability. Such market conditions may materially and adversely affect debt and equity capital markets, which may have a negative impact on our business and operations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused severe disruptions in the global economy, which has had, and may continue to have, a negative impact on our portfolio companies and our business and operations.

Global economic, political and market conditions, including uncertainty about the financial stability of the United States, could have a significant adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

A failure on our part to maintain our status as a BDC may significantly reduce our operating flexibility and a failure to maintain our status as a RIC may subject us to additional corporate-level income taxes and reduce earnings available from which to pay dividends.

We are dependent upon certain key personnel of Ares for our future success and upon their access to other Ares investment professionals.

We borrow money, which magnifies the potential for gain or loss on amounts invested and may increase the risk of investing with us.

We operate in a highly competitive market for investment opportunities.

There are significant potential conflicts of interest that could impact our investment returns.

We are exposed to risks associated with changes in interest rates.

Most of our portfolio investments are not publicly traded and, as a result, the fair value of these investments may not be readily determinable. Additionally, to the extent that we need liquidity and need to sell assets, the lack of liquidity in our investments may adversely affect our business.

Our financial condition and results of operations could be negatively affected if a significant investment fails to perform as expected.

Declines in market prices and liquidity in the corporate debt markets can result in significant net unrealized depreciation of our portfolio, which in turn would reduce our net asset value.

Economic recessions or downturns, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, could impair our portfolio companies and harm our operating results.

Our investments, which are primarily in middle-market companies, may be risky and we could lose all or part of our investment.

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Our portfolio companies may be highly leveraged.

Our shares of common stock may trade at a price above or below net asset value. If our common stock trades at a discount to net asset value, our ability to raise capital may be limited.

Our ability to grow depends on our ability to raise capital.

Our asset coverage requirement is 150%, which may increase the risk of investing with us.

RISKS RELATING TO OUR BUSINESS

The capital markets may experience periods of disruption and instability. Such market conditions may materially and adversely affect debt and equity capital markets, which may have a negative impact on our business and operations.

From time to time, capital markets may experience periods of disruption and instability, including as recently as 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, between 2008 and 2009, the global capital markets were unstable as evidenced by periodic disruptions in liquidity in the debt capital markets, significant write-offs in the financial services sector, the re-pricing of credit risk in the broadly syndicated credit market and the failure of major financial institutions. Despite actions of the U.S. federal government and foreign governments, these events contributed to worsening general economic conditions that materially and adversely impacted the broader financial and credit markets and reduced the availability of debt and equity capital for the market as a whole and financial services firms in particular. There can be no assurance these market conditions will not continue or worsen in the future, including as a result of COVID-19, as discussed below.

Equity capital may be difficult to raise during such periods of adverse or volatile market conditions because, subject to some limited exceptions, as a BDC, we are generally not able to issue additional shares of our common stock at a price less than net asset value without first obtaining approval for such issuance from our stockholders and our independent directors. We generally seek approval from our stockholders so that we have the flexibility to issue up to 25% of our then outstanding shares of our common stock at a price below net asset value. Pursuant to approval granted at a special meeting of stockholders held on August 13, 2020, we are permitted to sell or otherwise issue shares of our common stock at a price below net asset value, subject to certain limitations and determinations that must be made by our board of directors. Such stockholder approval expires on August 13, 2021.

Volatility and dislocation in the capital markets can also create a challenging environment in which to raise or access debt capital. The reappearance of market conditions similar to those experienced during portions of 2020 and from 2008 through 2009 for any substantial length of time could make it difficult to extend the maturity of or refinance our existing indebtedness or obtain new indebtedness with similar terms and any failure to do so could have a material adverse effect on our business. The debt capital that will be available to us in the future, if at all, may be at a higher cost and on less favorable terms and conditions than what we currently experience, including being at a higher cost in rising rate environments. If we are unable to raise or refinance debt, then our equity investors may not benefit from the potential for increased returns on equity resulting from leverage and we may be limited in our ability to make new commitments or to fund existing commitments to our portfolio companies.

Significant disruption or volatility in the capital markets may also have a negative effect on the valuations of our investments. While most of our investments are not publicly traded, applicable accounting standards require us to assume as part of our valuation process that our investments are sold in a principal market to market participants (even if we plan on holding an investment through its maturity). Significant disruption or volatility in the capital markets may also affect the pace of our investment activity and the potential for liquidity events involving our investments. Thus, the illiquidity of our investments may make it difficult for us to sell such investments to access capital if required, and as a result, we could realize significantly less than the value at which we have recorded our investments if we were required to sell them for liquidity purposes. An inability to raise or access capital could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused severe disruptions in the global economy, which has had, and may continue to have, a negative impact on our portfolio companies and our business and operations.

As of the filing date of this Annual Report, there is a continued outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, for which the World Health Organization has declared a global pandemic, the United States has declared a national emergency, and for the first time in its history, every state in the United States is under a federal disaster declaration. Many states, including those in which we and our portfolio companies operate, have issued orders requiring the closure of, or certain restrictions on the operation of, non-essential businesses and/or requiring residents to stay at home. The COVID-19 pandemic and restrictive
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measures taken to contain or mitigate its spread have caused, and are continuing to cause, business shutdowns, or the re-introduction of business shutdowns, cancellations of events and restrictions on travel, significant reductions in demand for certain goods and services, reductions in business activity and financial transactions, supply chain interruptions and overall economic and financial market instability both globally and in the United States. Such effects will likely continue for the duration of the pandemic, which is uncertain, and for some period thereafter. While several countries, as well as certain states, counties and cities in the United States, began to relax the early public health restrictions with a view to partially or fully reopening their economies, many cities, both globally and in the United States, have since experienced a surge in the reported number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This recent increase in cases has led to the re-introduction of restrictions and business shutdowns in certain states, counties and cities in the United States and globally and could continue to lead to the re-introduction of such restrictions elsewhere. Additionally, in December 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna for emergency use. However, it remains unclear how quickly the vaccines will be distributed nationwide and globally or when “herd immunity” will be achieved and the restrictions that were imposed to slow the spread of the virus will be lifted entirely. The delay in distributing the vaccines could lead people to continue to self-isolate and not participate in the economy at pre-pandemic levels for a prolonged period of time. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, the U.S. economy and most other major global economies may continue to experience a recession, and our business and operations, as well as the business and operations of our portfolio companies, could be materially adversely affected by a prolonged recession in the U.S. and other major markets.

The COVID-19 pandemic (including the restrictive measures taken in response thereto) has to date (i) created significant business disruption issues for certain of our portfolio companies, and (ii) materially and adversely impacted the value and performance of certain of our portfolio companies. The COVID-19 pandemic is having a particularly adverse impact on industries in which certain of our portfolio companies operate, including energy, hospitality, travel, retail and restaurants. Certain of our portfolio companies in other industries have also been significantly impacted. The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing as of the filing date of this Annual Report, and its extended duration may have further adverse impacts on our portfolio companies after December 31, 2020, including for the reasons described below. Although the U.S. government enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) on March 27, 2020, which contains provisions intended to mitigate the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a second stimulus package on December 27, 2020, which provides $900 billion in resources to small businesses and individuals as well as certain industries that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is uncertain whether, or how much, our portfolio companies have benefited or may benefit from such legislation or any other subsequent legislation intended to provide financial relief or assistance. As a result of this disruption and the pressures on their liquidity, certain of our portfolio companies have drawn, particularly in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, on a higher percentage of the available revolving loans made available by us. While the levels of draw on available revolving loans have generally returned to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, some of our portfolio companies with such available revolving loans may draw or continue to draw on such loans at a higher level than before the COVID-19 pandemic, subject to availability under the terms of such loans.

The effects described above on our portfolio companies have, for certain of our portfolio companies to date, impacted their ability to make payments on their loans on a timely basis and in many cases have required us to amend certain terms of their loans, including payment terms. In addition, an extended duration of the COVID-19 pandemic may impact the ability of our portfolio companies to continue making their loan payments on a timely basis or meeting their loan covenants. The inability of portfolio companies to make timely payments or meet loan covenants may in the future require us to undertake similar amendment actions with respect to other of our investments or to restructure our investments. The amendment or restructuring of our investments may include the need for us to make additional investments in our portfolio companies (including debt or equity investments) beyond any existing commitments, exchange debt for equity, or change the payment terms of our loans to permit an affected portfolio company to pay a portion of its interest through PIK, which would defer the cash collection of such interest and add it to the principal balance, which would generally be due upon repayment of the outstanding principal.

The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted the fair value of certain of our investments, including those reported as of December 31, 2020, and the values reported may differ materially from the values that we may ultimately realize with respect to our investments. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic may not yet be fully reflected in the fair value of our investments as our valuations, and particularly valuations of private investments and private companies, are inherently uncertain, may fluctuate over short periods of time and are often based on estimates, comparisons and qualitative evaluations of private information that is often from a time period earlier, generally two to three months, than the quarter for which we are reporting. Additionally, we may not have yet received information or certifications from our portfolio companies that indicate the full and ongoing extent of declining performance or non-compliance with debt covenants, as applicable, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, our valuations, including those reported as of December 31, 2020, may not show the complete or continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictive measures taken in response thereto. In addition, write downs in the value of our investments have reduced, and any additional write downs may further reduce, our net asset value (and, as a result, our asset coverage calculation). Accordingly, we may incur additional net unrealized or realized losses after December 31, 2020, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
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Despite actions of the U.S. federal government and foreign governments, the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, including uncertainty regarding new variants of COVID-19 that have emerged in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil, and other factors have contributed to significant volatility in the global public equity markets and global debt capital markets, including the market price of shares of our common stock and the trading prices of our issued debt securities. Market conditions may make it difficult for us to raise equity capital because, subject to some limited exceptions, as a BDC, we are generally not able to issue additional shares of our common stock at a price less than net asset value without first obtaining approval for such issuance from our stockholders and our independent directors. Pursuant to approval granted at a special meeting of stockholders, held on August 13, 2020, we are permitted to sell or otherwise issue shares of our common stock at a price below net asset value, subject to certain limitations and determinations that must be made by our board of directors. This stockholder approval expires on August 13, 2021. Moreover, these market conditions may make it difficult to access or obtain new indebtedness with similar terms to our existing indebtedness or otherwise have a negative effect on our cost of capital. See “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business—The capital markets may experience periods of disruption and instability. Such market conditions may materially and adversely affect debt and equity capital markets, which may have a negative impact on our business and operations.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ares Management Corporation, the indirect owner of our investment adviser, instituted a work from home policy until it is deemed safe to return to the office. Such a policy of an extended period of remote working by our investment adviser and/or its affiliate’s employees could strain our technology resources and introduce operational risks, including heightened cybersecurity risk. Remote working environments may be less secure and more susceptible to hacking attacks, including phishing and social engineering attempts, that seek to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic.

A failure on our part to maintain our status as a BDC may significantly reduce our operating flexibility.

If we fail to maintain our status as a BDC, we might be regulated as a closed-end investment company that is required to register under the Investment Company Act, which would subject us to additional regulatory restrictions and significantly decrease our operating flexibility. In addition, any such failure could cause an event of default under our outstanding indebtedness, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

We are dependent upon certain key personnel of Ares for our future success and upon their access to other Ares investment professionals.

We depend on the diligence, skill and network of business contacts of certain key personnel of the Ares Credit Group. We also depend, to a significant extent, on access to the investment professionals of other groups within Ares and the information and deal flow generated by Ares’ investment professionals in the course of their investment and portfolio management activities. Our future success depends on the continued service of certain key personnel of the Ares Credit Group. The departure of any of these individuals, or of a significant number of the investment professionals or partners of Ares, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. In addition, we cannot assure you that Ares Capital Management will remain our investment adviser or that we will continue to have access to Ares’ investment professionals or its information and deal flow. Further, there can be no assurance that Ares Capital will replicate its own or Ares’ historical success, and we caution you that our investment returns could be substantially lower than the returns achieved by other Ares-managed funds.

Our financial condition and results of operations depend on our ability to manage future growth effectively.

Our ability to achieve our investment objective depends on our ability to acquire suitable investments and monitor and administer those investments, which depends, in turn, on our investment adviser’s ability to identify, invest in and monitor companies that meet our investment criteria.

Accomplishing this result on a cost-effective basis is largely a function of the structuring of our investment process and the ability of our investment adviser to provide competent, attentive and efficient services to us. Our executive officers and the members of our investment adviser’s investment committee have substantial responsibilities in connection with their roles at Ares and with the other Ares funds, as well as responsibilities under the investment advisory and management agreement. They may also be called upon to provide significant managerial assistance to certain of our portfolio companies. These demands on their time, which will increase as the number of investments grow, may distract them or slow the rate of investment. In order for us to grow, Ares will need to hire, train, supervise, manage and retain new employees. However, we cannot assure you that Ares will be able to do so effectively. Any failure to manage our future growth effectively could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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Our ability to grow depends on our ability to raise capital.

We will need to periodically access the capital markets to raise cash to fund new investments in excess of our repayments, and we may also need to access the capital markets to refinance existing debt obligations to the extent such maturing obligations are not repaid with availability under our revolving credit facilities or cash flows from operations. We have elected to be treated as a RIC and operate in a manner so as to qualify for the U.S. federal income tax treatment applicable to RICs. Among other things, in order to maintain our RIC status, we must distribute to our stockholders on a timely basis generally an amount equal to at least 90% of our investment company taxable income, and, as a result, such distributions will not be available to fund investment originations or repay maturing debt. We must continue to borrow from financial institutions and issue additional securities to fund our growth. Unfavorable economic or capital market conditions may increase our funding costs, limit our access to the capital markets or could result in a decision by lenders not to extend credit to us. An inability to successfully access the capital markets may limit our ability to refinance our existing debt obligations as they come due and/or to fully execute our business strategy and could limit our ability to grow or cause us to have to shrink the size of our business, which could decrease our earnings, if any.
In addition, we are currently allowed to borrow amounts or issue debt securities or preferred stock, which we refer to collectively as “senior securities,” such that our asset coverage, as calculated pursuant to the Investment Company Act, equals at least 150% immediately after such borrowing (i.e., we are able to borrow up to two dollars for every dollar we have in assets less all liabilities and indebtedness not represented by senior securities issued by us). Such requirement, in certain circumstances, may restrict our ability to borrow or issue debt securities or preferred stock. The amount of leverage that we employ will depend on our investment adviser’s and our board of directors’ assessments of market and other factors at the time of any proposed borrowing or issuance of senior securities. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain or increase the amount available to us under our current Facilities (as defined below), obtain other lines of credit or issue senior securities at all or on terms acceptable to us.
Regulations governing our operation as a BDC affect our ability to, and the way in which we, raise additional capital.

We may issue senior securities or borrow money from banks or other financial institutions, up to the maximum amount permitted by the Investment Company Act. As a BDC, we are currently permitted to incur indebtedness or issue senior securities only in amounts such that our asset coverage, as calculated pursuant to the Investment Company Act, equals at least 150% after each such incurrence or issuance (i.e., we are able to borrow up to two dollars for every dollar we have in assets less all liabilities and indebtedness not represented by senior securities issued by us). If the value of our assets declines, we may be unable to satisfy this test, which may prohibit us from paying dividends and could prevent us from maintaining our status as a RIC or may prohibit us from repurchasing shares of our common stock. In addition, our inability to satisfy this test could cause an event of default under our existing indebtedness. If we cannot satisfy this test, we may be required to sell a portion of our investments at a time when such sales may be disadvantageous and, depending on the nature of our leverage, repay a portion of our indebtedness. Accordingly, any failure to satisfy this test could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. As of December 31, 2020, our asset coverage calculated in accordance with the Investment Company Act was 182%. Also, to generate cash for funding new investments, we may in the future seek to issue additional debt or to securitize certain of our loans. The Investment Company Act may impose restrictions on the structure of any such securitization.

We are not generally able to issue and sell our common stock at a price below net asset value per share. We may, however, sell our common stock, or warrants, options or rights to acquire our common stock, at a price below the current net asset value per share of our common stock if our board of directors determines that such sale is in our best interests and the best interests of our stockholders, and our stockholders approve such sale. Any such sale would be dilutive to the net asset value per share of our common stock. In any such case, the price at which our securities are to be issued and sold may not be less than a price that, in the determination of our board of directors, closely approximates the market value of such securities (less any commission or discount). If our common stock trades at a discount to net asset value, this restriction could adversely affect our ability to raise capital.

Pursuant to approval granted at a special meeting of stockholders held on August 13, 2020, we are permitted to sell or otherwise issue shares of our common stock at a price below net asset value, subject to certain limitations and determinations that must be made by our board of directors. Such stockholder approval expires on August 13, 2021.
We borrow money, which magnifies the potential for gain or loss on amounts invested and may increase the risk of investing with us.

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Borrowings, also known as leverage, magnify the potential for gain or loss on amounts invested and, therefore, increase the risks associated with investing in our securities. We currently borrow under the Facilities and have issued or assumed other senior securities, and in the future may borrow from, or issue additional senior securities to, banks, insurance companies, funds, institutional investors and other lenders and investors. Lenders and holders of such senior securities have fixed dollar claims on our consolidated assets that are superior to the claims of our common stockholders or any preferred stockholders. If the value of our consolidated assets increases, then leveraging would cause the net asset value per share of our common stock to increase more sharply than it would have had we not incurred leverage.

Conversely, if the value of our consolidated assets decreases, leveraging would cause net asset value to decline more sharply than it otherwise would have had we not incurred leverage. Similarly, any increase in our consolidated income in excess of consolidated interest payable on the borrowed funds would cause our net income to increase more than it would had we not incurred leverage, while any decrease in our consolidated income would cause net income to decline more sharply than it would have had we not incurred leverage. Such a decline could negatively affect our ability to make common stock dividend payments. There can be no assurance that a leveraging strategy will be successful.

As of December 31, 2020, we had approximately $2.8 billion of outstanding borrowings under the Facilities, approximately $791 million in aggregate amount outstanding of the Convertible Unsecured Notes and approximately $5.0 billion in aggregate principal amount outstanding of the 2022 Notes, the 2023 Notes, the 2024 Notes, the March 2025 Notes, the July 2025 Notes, the January 2026 Notes and the 2047 Notes (together the “Unsecured Notes”). In order for us to cover our annual interest payments on our outstanding indebtedness at December 31, 2020, we must achieve annual returns on our December 31, 2020 total assets of at least 1.8%. The weighted average stated interest rate charged on our principal amount of outstanding indebtedness as of December 31, 2020 was 3.4%. We intend to continue borrowing under the Facilities in the future and we may increase the size of the Facilities or issue additional debt securities or other evidences of indebtedness (although there can be no assurance that we will be successful in doing so). For more information on our indebtedness, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Financial Condition, Liquidity and Capital Resources.” Our ability to service our debt depends largely on our financial performance and is subject to prevailing economic conditions and competitive pressures. The amount of leverage that we employ at any particular time will depend on our investment adviser’s and our board of directors’ assessments of market and other factors at the time of any proposed borrowing. We are currently allowed to borrow amounts such that our asset coverage, as calculated pursuant to the Investment Company Act, equals at least 150% after such borrowing (i.e., we are able to borrow up to two dollars for every dollar we have in assets less all liabilities and indebtedness not represented by senior securities issued by us).

The Facilities, the Convertible Unsecured Notes and the Unsecured Notes impose financial and operating covenants that restrict our business activities, including limitations that could hinder our ability to finance additional loans and investments or to make the distributions required to maintain our status as a RIC. A failure to renew the Facilities or to add new or replacement debt facilities or to issue additional debt securities or other evidences of indebtedness could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The following table illustrates the effect on return to a holder of our common stock of the leverage created by our use of borrowing at the weighted average stated interest rate of 3.4% as of December 31, 2020, together with (a) our total value of net assets as of December 31, 2020; (b) approximately $8.6 billion in aggregate principal amount of indebtedness outstanding as of December 31, 2020 and (c) hypothetical annual returns on our portfolio of minus 15% to plus 15%.

Assumed Return on Portfolio (Net of Expenses)(1)-15.00 %-10.00 %-5.00 %— %5.00 %10.00 %15.00 %
Corresponding Return to Common Stockholders(2)-37.90 %-26.61 %-15.33 %-4.04 %7.24 %18.52 %29.81 %
_______________________________________________________________________________

(1)The assumed portfolio return is required by SEC regulations and is not a prediction of, and does not represent, our projected or actual performance. Actual returns may be greater or less than those appearing in the table. Pursuant to SEC regulations, this table is calculated as of December 31, 2020. As a result, it has not been updated to take into account any changes in assets or leverage since December 31, 2020.

(2)In order to compute the “Corresponding Return to Common Stockholders,” the “Assumed Return on Portfolio” is multiplied by the total value of our assets at December 31, 2020 to obtain an assumed return to us. From this amount, the interest expense (calculated by multiplying the weighted average stated interest rate of 3.4% by the approximately $8.6 billion of principal debt outstanding) is subtracted to determine the return available to stockholders. The return
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available to stockholders is then divided by the total value of our net assets as of December 31, 2020 to determine the “Corresponding Return to Common Stockholders.”

In addition to regulatory requirements that restrict our ability to raise capital, the Facilities, the Convertible Unsecured Notes and the Unsecured Notes contain various covenants that, if not complied with, could accelerate repayment under the Facilities, the Convertible Unsecured Notes and the Unsecured Notes, thereby materially and adversely affecting our liquidity, financial condition and results of operations.

The agreements governing the Facilities, the Convertible Unsecured Notes and the Unsecured Notes require us to comply with certain financial and operational covenants. These covenants may include, among other things:

restrictions on the level of indebtedness that we are permitted to incur in relation to the value of our assets;

restrictions on our ability to incur liens; and

maintenance of a minimum level of stockholders’ equity.

As of the date of this Annual Report, we are in compliance in all material respects with the covenants of the Facilities, the Convertible Unsecured Notes and the Unsecured Notes. However, our continued compliance with these covenants depends on many factors, some of which are beyond our control. For example, depending on the condition of the public debt and equity markets and pricing levels, unrealized depreciation in our portfolio may increase in the future. Any such increase could result in our inability to comply with our obligation to restrict the level of indebtedness that we are able to incur in relation to the value of our assets or to maintain a minimum level of stockholders’ equity.

Accordingly, although we believe we will continue to be in compliance, there are no assurances that we will continue to comply with the covenants in the Facilities, the Convertible Unsecured Notes and the Unsecured Notes. Failure to comply with these covenants could result in a default under the Facilities, the Convertible Unsecured Notes or the Unsecured Notes, that, if we were unable to obtain a waiver from the lenders or holders of such indebtedness, as applicable, such lenders or holders could accelerate repayment under such indebtedness and thereby have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We operate in a highly competitive market for investment opportunities.

A number of entities compete with us to make the types of investments that we make in middle-market companies. We compete with other BDCs, public and private funds, commercial and investment banks, commercial financing companies, insurance companies, hedge funds, and, to the extent they provide an alternative form of financing, private equity funds. Some of our competitors are substantially larger and have considerably greater financial, technical and marketing resources than we do. Some competitors may have a lower cost of funds and access to funding sources that are not available to us. In addition, some of our competitors may have higher risk tolerances or different risk assessments, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of investments and establish more relationships than us. Furthermore, many of our competitors are not subject to the regulatory restrictions that the Investment Company Act imposes on us as a BDC and that the Code imposes on us as a RIC. We cannot assure you that the competitive pressures we face will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Also, as a result of this competition, we may not be able to pursue attractive investment opportunities from time to time.

We do not seek to compete primarily based on the interest rates we offer and we believe that some of our competitors may make loans with interest rates that are comparable to or lower than the rates we offer. Rather, we compete with our competitors based on our existing investment platform, seasoned investment professionals, experience and focus on middle-market companies, disciplined investment philosophy, extensive industry focus and flexible transaction structuring. For a more detailed discussion of these competitive advantages, see “Business—Competitive Advantages.”

We may lose investment opportunities if we do not match our competitors’ pricing, terms and structure. The loss of such investment opportunities may limit our ability to grow or cause us to have to shrink the size of our portfolio, which could decrease our earnings. If we match our competitors’ pricing, terms and structure, we may experience decreased net interest income and increased risk of credit loss. As a result of operating in such a competitive environment, we may make investments that are on less favorable terms than what we may have originally anticipated, which may impact our return on these investments.

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There are significant potential conflicts of interest that could impact our investment returns.

Conflicts may arise in allocating and structuring investments, time, services, expenses or resources among the investment activities of Ares funds, Ares, other Ares-affiliated entities and the employees of Ares. Certain of our executive officers and directors, and members of the investment committee of our investment adviser, serve or may serve as officers, directors or principals of other entities and affiliates of our investment adviser and investment funds managed by our investment adviser or its affiliates. Accordingly, they may have obligations to investors in those entities, the fulfillment of which might not be in our or our stockholders’ best interests or may require them to devote time to services for other entities, which could interfere with the time available to provide services to us. Members of our investment adviser’s investment committee may have significant responsibilities for other Ares funds. Similarly, although the professional staff of our investment adviser will devote as much time to the management of us as appropriate to enable our investment adviser to perform its duties in accordance with the investment advisory and management agreement, the investment professionals of our investment adviser may have conflicts in allocating their time and services among us, on the one hand, and investment vehicles managed by our investment adviser or one or more of its affiliates, on the other hand. These activities could be viewed as creating a conflict of interest insofar as the time and effort of the professional staff of our investment adviser and its officers and employees will not be devoted exclusively to our business but will instead be allocated between our business and the management of these other investment vehicles.

In addition, certain Ares funds may have investment objectives that compete or overlap with, and may from time to time invest in asset classes similar to those targeted by, Ares Capital. Consequently, we, on the one hand, and these other entities, on the other hand, may from time to time pursue the same or similar capital and investment opportunities. Ares and our investment adviser endeavor to allocate investment opportunities in a fair and equitable manner, and in any event consistent with any fiduciary duties owed to Ares Capital. Nevertheless, it is possible that we may not be given the opportunity to participate in certain investments made by investment funds managed by investment managers affiliated with Ares (including our investment adviser). In addition, there may be conflicts in the allocation of investments among us and the funds managed by investment managers affiliated with Ares (including our investment adviser) or one or more of our controlled affiliates or among the funds they manage, including investments made pursuant to the Co-investment Exemptive Order. Further, such other Ares-managed funds may hold positions in portfolio companies in which Ares Capital has also invested. Such investments may raise potential conflicts of interest between Ares Capital and such other Ares-managed funds, particularly if Ares Capital and such other Ares-managed funds invest in different classes or types of securities or investments of the same underlying portfolio company. In that regard, actions may be taken by such other Ares-managed funds that are adverse to Ares Capital’s interests, including, but not limited to, during a restructuring, bankruptcy or other insolvency proceeding or similar matter occurring at the underlying portfolio company.

We have from time to time sold assets to IHAM and certain of the IHAM Vehicles and, as part of our investment strategy, we may offer to sell additional assets to vehicles managed by one or more of our affiliates (including IHAM) or we may purchase assets from vehicles managed by one or more of our affiliates (including IHAM). In addition, vehicles managed by one or more of our affiliates (including IHAM) may offer assets to or may purchase assets from one another. While assets may be sold or purchased at prices that are consistent with those that could be obtained from third parties in the marketplace, and although these types of transactions generally require approval of one or more independent parties, there may be an inherent conflict of interest in such transactions between us and funds managed by one of our affiliates (including our investment adviser).

We pay a base management fee, an income based fee and a capital gains incentive fee to our investment adviser, and reimburse our investment adviser for certain expenses it incurs. Ares, from time to time, incurs fees, costs, and expenses on behalf of more than one fund. To the extent such fees, costs, and expenses are incurred for the account or benefit of more than one fund, each such fund will typically bear an allocable portion of any such fees, costs, and expenses in proportion to the size of its investment in the activity or entity to which such expense relates (subject to the terms of each fund’s governing documents) or in such other manner as Ares considers fair and equitable under the circumstances such as the relative fund size or capital available to be invested by such funds. Where a fund’s governing documents do not permit the payment of a particular expense, Ares will generally pay such fund’s allocable portion of such expense. In addition, investors in our common stock will invest on a gross basis and receive distributions on a net basis after expenses, resulting in, among other things, a lower rate of return than one might achieve if distributions were made on a gross basis.

Our investment adviser’s base management fee is based on a percentage of our total assets (other than cash or cash equivalents but including assets purchased with borrowed funds) and, consequently, our investment adviser may have conflicts of interest in connection with decisions that could affect our total assets, such as decisions as to whether to incur indebtedness or to make future investments. We are currently allowed to borrow amounts such that our asset coverage, as calculated pursuant to the Investment Company Act, equals at least 150% after such borrowing (i.e., we are able to borrow up to two dollars for
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every dollar we have in assets less all liabilities and indebtedness not represented by senior securities issued by us). Accordingly, our investment adviser may have conflicts of interest in connection with decisions to use increased leverage permitted under our asset coverage requirement applicable to senior securities, as the incurrence of such additional indebtedness would result in an increase in the base management fees payable to our investment adviser and may also result in an increase in the income based fees and capital gains incentive fees payable to our investment adviser.

The income based fees payable by us to our investment adviser that relate to our pre-incentive fee net investment income is computed and paid on income that may include interest that is accrued but not yet received in cash. If a portfolio company defaults on a loan that is structured to provide accrued interest, it is possible that accrued interest previously used in the calculation of such fee will become uncollectible. Our investment adviser is not under any obligation to reimburse us for any part of the income based fees it received that were based on accrued interest that we never actually receive.

Our investment advisory and management agreement renews for successive annual periods if approved by our board of directors or by the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of our outstanding voting securities, including, in either case, approval by a majority of our directors who are not “interested persons” of us as defined in Section 2(a)(19) of the Investment Company Act. However, both we and our investment adviser have the right to terminate the agreement without penalty upon 60 days’ written notice to the other party. Moreover, conflicts of interest may arise if our investment adviser seeks to change the terms of our investment advisory and management agreement, including, for example, the terms for compensation to our investment adviser. While any material change to the investment advisory and management agreement must be submitted to stockholders for approval under the Investment Company Act, we may from time to time decide it is appropriate to seek stockholder approval to change the terms of the agreement.

We are party to an administration agreement with our administrator, Ares Operations, a subsidiary of Ares Management, pursuant to which our administrator furnishes us with administrative services and we pay our administrator at cost our allocable portion of overhead and other expenses (including travel expenses) incurred by our administrator in performing its obligations under our administration agreement, including our allocable portion of the compensation, rent, and other expenses of certain of our officers (including our chief compliance officer, chief financial officer, chief accounting officer, general counsel, secretary, treasurer and assistant treasurer) and their respective staffs, but not investment professionals.

Our portfolio company, IHAM, is party to an administration agreement, referred to herein as the “IHAM administration agreement,” with Ares Operations. Pursuant to the IHAM administration agreement, our administrator provides IHAM with administrative services and IHAM reimburses our administrator for all of the actual costs associated with such services, including its allocable portion of our administrator’s overhead and the cost of our administrator’s officers and respective staff in performing its obligations under the IHAM administration agreement. Prior to entering into the IHAM administration agreement, IHAM was party to a services agreement with our investment adviser, pursuant to which our investment adviser provided similar services.

As a result of the arrangements described above, there may be times when the management team of Ares Management (including those members of management focused primarily on managing Ares Capital) has interests that differ from those of yours, giving rise to a conflict.

Our stockholders may have conflicting investment, tax and other objectives with respect to their investments in us. The conflicting interests of individual stockholders may relate to or arise from, among other things, the nature of our investments, the structure or the acquisition of our investments, and the timing of dispositions of our investments. As a consequence, conflicts of interest may arise in connection with decisions made by our investment adviser, including with respect to the nature or structuring of our investments, that may be more beneficial for one stockholder than for another stockholder, especially with respect to stockholders’ individual tax situations. In selecting and structuring investments appropriate for us, our investment adviser will consider the investment and tax objectives of the Company and our stockholders, as a whole, not the investment, tax or other objectives of any stockholder individually.

We may be subject to additional corporate-level income taxes if we fail to maintain our status as a RIC.

We have elected to be treated as a RIC under the Code and operate in a manner so as to qualify for the U.S. federal income tax treatment applicable to RICs. As a RIC, we generally will not pay U.S. federal corporate-level income taxes on our income and net capital gains that we distribute to our stockholders as dividends on a timely basis. We will be subject to U.S. federal corporate-level income tax on any undistributed income and/or gains. To maintain our status as a RIC, we must meet certain source of income, asset diversification and annual distribution requirements. We may also be subject to certain U.S. federal excise taxes, as well as state, local and foreign taxes.

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To maintain our RIC status, we must timely distribute an amount equal to at least 90% of our investment company taxable income (as defined by the Code, which generally includes net ordinary income and net short term capital gains) to our stockholders (the “Annual Distribution Requirement”). We have the ability to pay a large portion of our dividends in shares of our stock, and as long as a portion of such dividend is paid in cash and other requirements are met, such stock dividends will be taxable as a dividend for U.S. federal income tax purposes. This may result in our U.S. stockholders having to pay tax on such dividends, even if no cash is received, and may result in our non-U.S. stockholders being subject to withholding tax in respect of amounts distributed in our stock. Because we use debt financing, we are subject to certain asset coverage ratio requirements under the Investment Company Act and financial covenants under our indebtedness that could, under certain circumstances, restrict us from making distributions necessary to qualify as a RIC. If we are unable to obtain cash from other sources, we may fail to maintain our status as a RIC and, thus, may be subject to corporate-level income tax on all of our income and/or gains.

To maintain our status as a RIC, in addition to the Annual Distribution Requirement, we must also meet certain annual source of income requirements at the end of each taxable year and asset diversification requirements at the end of each calendar quarter. Failure to meet these requirements may result in our having to (a) dispose of certain investments quickly or (b) raise additional capital to prevent the loss of RIC status. Because most of our investments are in private companies and are generally illiquid, any such dispositions may be at disadvantageous prices and may result in losses. Also, the rules applicable to our qualification as a RIC are complex with many areas of uncertainty. Accordingly, no assurance can be given that we have qualified or will continue to qualify as a RIC. If we fail to maintain our status as a RIC for any reason and become subject to regular “C” corporation income tax, the resulting corporate-level income taxes could substantially reduce our net assets, the amount of income available for distribution and the amount of our distributions. Such a failure would have a material adverse effect on us and on any investment in us. Certain provisions of the Code provide some relief from RIC disqualification due to failures of the source of income and asset diversification requirements, although there may be additional taxes due in such cases. We cannot assure you that we would qualify for any such relief should we fail the source of income or asset diversification requirements.

We may have difficulty paying our required distributions under applicable tax rules if we recognize income before or without receiving cash representing such income.

For U.S. federal income tax purposes, we generally are required to include in income certain amounts that we have not yet received in cash, such as original issue discount, which may arise, for example, if we receive warrants in connection with the making of a loan, or PIK interest representing contractual interest added to the loan principal balance and due at the end of the loan term. Such original issue discount or PIK interest is included in income before we receive any corresponding cash payments. We also may be required to include in income certain other amounts that we will not receive in cash, including, for example, amounts attributable to hedging and foreign currency transactions.

Since, in certain cases, we may recognize income before or without receiving cash in respect of such income, we may have difficulty meeting the U.S. federal income tax requirement to distribute generally an amount equal to at least 90% of our investment company taxable income to maintain our status as a RIC. Accordingly, we may have to sell some of our investments at times we would not consider advantageous, raise additional debt or equity capital or reduce new investment originations to meet these distribution requirements. If we are not able to obtain cash from other sources, we may fail to qualify as a RIC and thus be subject to additional corporate-level income taxes. Such a failure could have a material adverse effect on us and on any investment in us.

We are exposed to risks associated with changes in interest rates.

General interest rate fluctuations may have a substantial negative impact on our investments and investment opportunities and, accordingly, may have a material adverse effect on our investment objective and our net investment income. Because we borrow money and may issue debt securities or preferred stock to make investments, our net investment income is dependent upon the difference between the rate at which we borrow funds or pay interest or dividends on such debt securities or preferred stock and the rate at which we invest these funds. If market rates decrease we may earn less interest income from investments made during such lower rate environment. From time to time, we may also enter into certain hedging transactions to mitigate our exposure to changes in interest rates. In the past, we have entered into certain hedging transactions, such as interest rate swap agreements, to mitigate our exposure to adverse fluctuations in interest rates, and we may do so again in the future. In addition, we may increase our floating rate investments to position the portfolio for rate increases. However, we cannot assure you that such transactions will be successful in mitigating our exposure to interest rate risk. There can be no assurance that a significant change in market interest rates will not have a material adverse effect on our net investment income.

Trading prices tend to fluctuate more for fixed-rate securities that have longer maturities. Although we have no policy governing the maturities of our investments, under current market conditions we expect that we will invest in a portfolio of debt
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generally having maturities of up to 10 years. Trading prices for debt that pays a fixed rate of return tend to fall as interest rates rise. This means that we are subject to greater risk (other things being equal) than a fund invested solely in shorter-term securities. A decline in the prices of the debt we own could adversely affect the trading price of our common stock. Also, an increase in interest rates available to investors could make an investment in our common stock less attractive if we are not able to increase our dividend rate, which could reduce the value of our common stock.

Most of our portfolio investments are not publicly traded and, as a result, the fair value of these investments may not be readily determinable.

A large percentage of our portfolio investments are not publicly traded. The fair value of investments that are not publicly traded may not be readily determinable. We value these investments quarterly at fair value as determined in good faith by our board of directors based on, among other things, the input of our management and audit committee and independent valuation firms that have been engaged at the direction of our board of directors to assist in the valuation of each portfolio investment without a readily available market quotation at least once during a trailing 12-month period (with certain de minimis exceptions). The valuation process is conducted at the end of each fiscal quarter, with a portion (based on value) of our valuations of portfolio companies without readily available market quotations subject to review by an independent valuation firm each quarter. However, we may use these independent valuation firms to review the value of our investments more frequently, including in connection with the occurrence of significant events or changes in value affecting a particular investment. In addition, our independent registered public accounting firm obtains an understanding of, and performs select procedures relating to, our investment valuation process within the context of performing the integrated audit.

The types of factors that may be considered in valuing our investments include the enterprise value of the portfolio company (the entire value of the portfolio company to a market participant, including the sum of the values of debt and equity securities used to capitalize the enterprise at a point in time), the nature and realizable value of any collateral, the portfolio company’s ability to make payments and its earnings and discounted cash flows, the markets in which the portfolio company does business, a comparison of the portfolio company’s securities to similar publicly traded securities, changes in the interest rate environment and the credit markets generally that may affect the price at which similar investments would trade in their principal markets and other relevant factors. When an external event such as a purchase transaction, public offering or subsequent equity sale occurs, we consider the pricing indicated by the external event to corroborate our valuation. Because such valuations, and particularly valuations of private investments and private companies, are inherently uncertain, may fluctuate over short periods of time and may be based on estimates, our determinations of fair value may differ materially from the values that would have been used if a ready market for these investments existed and may differ materially from the values that we may ultimately realize. Our net asset value per share could be adversely affected if our determinations regarding the fair value of these investments are higher than the values that we realize upon disposition of such investments.

The lack of liquidity in our investments may adversely affect our business.

As we generally make investments in private companies, substantially all of these investments are subject to legal and other restrictions on resale or are otherwise less liquid than publicly traded securities. The illiquidity of our investments may make it difficult for us to sell such investments if the need arises. In addition, if we are required to liquidate all or a portion of our portfolio quickly, we could realize significantly less than the value at which we have recorded our investments or could be unable to dispose of our investments in a timely manner. In addition, we may face other restrictions on our ability to liquidate an investment in a portfolio company to the extent that we or an affiliated manager of Ares has material non-public information regarding such portfolio company.

Our financial condition and results of operations could be negatively affected if a significant investment fails to perform as expected.

Our investment portfolio includes investments that may be significant individually or in the aggregate. If a significant investment in one or more companies fails to perform as expected, such a failure could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results, and the magnitude of such effect could be more significant than if we had further diversified our portfolio.

We are subject to risks related to corporate social responsibility.
 
Our business (including that of our portfolio companies) faces increasing public scrutiny related to ESG activities. We risk damage to our brand and reputation if we fail to act responsibly in a number of areas, such as diversity, equity and inclusion, environmental stewardship, support for local communities, corporate governance and transparency and considering ESG factors in our investment processes. Adverse incidents with respect to ESG activities could impact the value of our brand,
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our relationship with existing and future portfolio companies, the cost of our operations and relationships with investors, all of which could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

Additionally, new regulatory initiatives related to ESG that are applicable to us and our portfolio companies could adversely affect our business. In May 2018, the European Commission adopted an “action plan on financing sustainable growth.” The action plan is, among other things, designed to define and reorient investment toward sustainability. The action plan contemplates: establishing EU labels for green financial products; increasing disclosure requirements in the financial services sector around ESG and strengthening the transparency of companies on their ESG policies and introducing a ‘green supporting factor’ in the EU prudential rules for banks and insurance companies to incorporate climate risks into banks’ and insurance companies’ risk management policies. There is a risk that a significant reorientation in the market following the implementation of these and further measures could be adverse to our portfolio companies if they are perceived to be less valuable as a consequence of, e.g., their carbon footprint or “greenwashing” (i.e., the holding out of a product as having green or sustainable characteristics where this is not, in fact, the case). We and our portfolio companies are subject to the risk that similar measures might be introduced in other jurisdictions in the future. Additionally, compliance with any new laws or regulations increases our regulatory burden and could make compliance more difficult and expensive, affect the manner in which we or our portfolio companies conduct our businesses and adversely affect our profitability.

Changes in laws or regulations governing our operations or the operations of our portfolio companies, changes in the interpretation thereof or newly enacted laws or regulations, such as the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) and the Small Business Credit Availability Act (the “SBCAA”), could require changes to certain business practices of us or our portfolio companies, negatively impact the operations, cash flows or financial condition of us or our portfolio companies, impose additional costs on us or our portfolio companies or otherwise adversely affect our business or the business of our portfolio companies.

We and our portfolio companies are subject to regulation by laws and regulations at the local, state, federal and, in some cases, foreign levels. These laws and regulations, as well as their interpretation, may be changed from time to time, and new laws and regulations may be enacted. Accordingly, any change in these laws or regulations, changes in their interpretation, or newly enacted laws or regulations could require changes to certain business practices of us or our portfolio companies, negatively impact the operations, cash flows or financial condition of us or our portfolio companies, impose additional costs on us or our portfolio companies or otherwise adversely affect our business or the business of our portfolio companies.

On July 21, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Act, certain aspects of which were amended by the 2018 Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. In addition, U.S. regulatory agencies continue to consider changes to regulations promulgated under the Dodd-Frank Act. Although the full impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on us and our portfolio companies may not be known for an extended period of time, the Dodd-Frank Act, including the rules implementing its provisions and the interpretation of those rules relating to capital, margin, trading and clearance and settlement of derivatives, may negatively impact the operations, cash flows or financial condition of us or our portfolio companies, impose additional costs on us or our portfolio companies, intensify the regulatory supervision of us or our portfolio companies or otherwise adversely affect our business or the business of our portfolio companies.

On February 3, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13772 announcing the new Administration’s policy to regulate the U.S. financial system in a manner consistent with certain “Core Principles,” including regulation that is efficient, effective and appropriately tailored. The Executive Order directed the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the heads of the member agencies of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, to report to the President on the extent to which existing laws, regulations and other government policies promote the Core Principles and to identify any laws, regulations or other government policies that inhibit federal regulation of the U.S. financial system. On June 12, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Treasury published the first of several reports in response to the Executive Order on the depository system covering banks and other savings institutions. On October 6, 2017, the Treasury released a second report outlining ways to streamline and reform the U.S. regulatory system for capital markets, followed by a third report, on October 26, 2017, examining the current regulatory framework for the asset management and insurance industries. The Treasury released a fourth report on July 31, 2018 describing recommendations relating to non-bank financial institutions, financial technology and innovation. Subsequent reports are expected to address retail and institutional investment products and vehicles.

On May 24, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which increased from $50 billion to $250 billion the asset threshold for designation of “systemically important financial institutions” or “SIFIs” subject to enhanced prudential standards set by the Federal Reserve, staggering application of this change based on the size and risk of the covered bank holding company. On July 17, 2018, the House of Representatives passed the JOBS and Investor Confidence Act, which includes 32 pieces of legislation intended to help small businesses,
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entrepreneurs and investors by reforming capital markets. The proposed legislation includes provisions to expand the definition of “accredited investors,” extend on‑ramp exemptions for emerging growth companies (EGCs) and ease securities regulations on initial public offerings. The legislation was forwarded to the Senate for consideration, where no further action was taken, although it may be reintroduced in the future. At this time it is not possible to determine the potential impact of these new laws and proposals on us.
On March 23, 2018, the SBCAA was signed into law. The SBCAA, among other things, modified the applicable provisions of the Investment Company Act to reduce the required asset coverage ratio applicable to a BDC from 200% to 150% subject to certain approval, time and disclosure requirements (including either stockholder approval or approval of a “required majority” of its board of directors). On June 21, 2018, our board of directors, including a “required majority” of our board of directors, approved the application of the modified asset coverage requirement set forth in Section 61(a)(2) of the Investment Company Act, as amended by the SBCAA. As a result, effective on June 21, 2019, our asset coverage requirement applicable to senior securities was reduced from 200% to 150% (i.e., we are able to borrow up to two dollars for every dollar we have in assets less all liabilities and indebtedness not represented by senior securities issued by us), and the risks associated with an investment in us may increase.

Additionally, legislative or other actions relating to taxes could have a negative effect on us. The rules dealing with U.S. federal income taxation are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and the U.S. Treasury Department. We cannot predict with certainty how any changes in the tax laws might affect us, our stockholders, or our portfolio companies. New legislation and any U.S. Treasury regulations, administrative interpretations or court decisions interpreting such legislation could significantly and negatively affect our ability to qualify for tax treatment as a RIC or the U.S. federal income tax consequences to us and our stockholders of such qualification, or could have other adverse consequences. Stockholders are urged to consult with their tax advisor regarding tax legislative, regulatory, or administrative developments and proposals and their potential effect on an investment in our securities.

Changes to United States tariff and import/export regulations may have a negative effect on our portfolio companies and, in turn, harm us.

There has been ongoing discussion and commentary regarding potential significant changes to U.S. trade policies, treaties and tariffs. There continues to exist significant uncertainty about the future relationship between the U.S. and other countries with respect to such trade policies, treaties and tariffs. These developments, or the perception that any of them could occur, may have a material adverse effect on global economic conditions and the stability of global financial markets, and may significantly reduce global trade and, in particular, trade between the impacted nations and the U.S. Any of these factors could depress economic activity and restrict our portfolio companies’ access to suppliers or customers and have a material adverse effect on their business, financial condition and results of operations, which in turn would negatively impact us.

Uncertainty relating to the LIBOR calculation process may adversely affect the value of the LIBOR‑indexed, floating‑rate debt securities in our portfolio or the cost of our borrowings.

National and international regulators and law enforcement agencies have conducted investigations into a number of rates or indices that are deemed to be “reference rates.” Actions by such regulators and law enforcement agencies may result in changes to the manner in which certain reference rates are determined, their discontinuance, or the establishment of alternative reference rates. In particular, on July 27, 2017, the Chief Executive of the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”), which regulates LIBOR, announced that the FCA will no longer persuade or compel banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. On November 30, 2020, ICE Benchmark Administration (“IBA”), the administrator of LIBOR, with the support of the United States Federal Reserve and the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, announced plans to consult on ceasing publication of USD LIBOR on December 31, 2021 for only the one week and two month USD LIBOR tenors, and on June 30, 2023 for all other USD LIBOR tenors. The United States Federal Reserve concurrently issued a statement advising banks to stop new USD LIBOR issuances by the end of 2021. Such announcements indicate that the continuation of LIBOR on the current basis cannot and will not be guaranteed after 2021. It appears highly likely that LIBOR will be discontinued or modified by 2021. The U.S. Federal Reserve, in conjunction with the Alternative Reference Rates Committee, a steering committee comprised of large U.S. financial institutions, is considering replacing U.S. dollar LIBOR with a new index calculated by short‑term repurchase agreements, backed by Treasury securities (the “Secured Overnight Financing Rate,” or “SOFR”). The future of LIBOR at this time is uncertain. Potential changes, or uncertainty related to such potential changes, may adversely affect the market for LIBOR‑based securities, including our portfolio of LIBOR‑indexed, floating‑rate debt securities, or the cost of our borrowings. In addition, changes or reforms to the determination or supervision of LIBOR may result in a sudden or prolonged increase or decrease in reported LIBOR, which could have an adverse impact on the market for LIBOR‑based securities, including the value of the LIBOR‑indexed, floating‑rate debt securities in our portfolio, or the cost of our borrowings. Additionally, if LIBOR ceases to exist, we may need to renegotiate the credit agreements
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extending beyond 2021 with our credit facility lenders and our portfolio companies that utilize LIBOR as a factor in determining the interest rate to replace LIBOR with the new standard that is established.

Our investment adviser’s liability is limited under the investment advisory and management agreement, and we are required to indemnify our investment adviser against certain liabilities, which may lead our investment adviser to act in a riskier manner on our behalf than it would when acting for its own account.

Our investment adviser has not assumed any responsibility to us other than to render the services described in the investment advisory and management agreement, and it will not be responsible for any action of our board of directors in declining to follow our investment adviser’s advice or recommendations. Pursuant to the investment advisory and management agreement, our investment adviser and its members and their respective officers, managers, partners, agents, employees, controlling persons and members and any other persons affiliated with it will not be liable to us for their acts under the investment advisory and management agreement, absent willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard in the performance of their duties. We have agreed to indemnify, defend and protect our investment adviser and its members and their respective officers, managers, partners, agents, employees, controlling persons and members and any other persons or entities affiliated with it with respect to all damages, liabilities, costs and expenses arising out of or otherwise based upon the performance of any of our investment adviser’s duties or obligations under the investment advisory and management agreement or otherwise as an investment adviser for us, and not arising out of willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard in the performance of their duties under the investment advisory and management agreement. These protections may lead our investment adviser to act in a riskier manner when acting on our behalf than it would when acting for its own account. See “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Investments—Our investment adviser's fee structure may induce it to make certain investments on our behalf, including speculative investments.”

We may be obligated to pay our investment adviser certain fees even if we incur a loss.

Our investment adviser is entitled to income based fees for each fiscal quarter in an amount equal to a percentage of the excess of our pre-incentive fee net investment income for that quarter (before deducting any income based fee and capital gains incentive fees and certain other items) above a threshold return for that quarter. Our pre-incentive fee net investment income for income based fee purposes excludes realized and unrealized capital losses or depreciation and income taxes related to realized gains that we may incur in the fiscal quarter, even if such capital losses or depreciation and income taxes related to realized gains result in a net loss on our statement of operations for that quarter. Thus, we may be required to pay our investment adviser income based fees for a fiscal quarter even if there is a decline in the value of our portfolio or the net asset value of our common stock or we incur a net loss for that quarter.

Under the investment advisory and management agreement, we will defer cash payment of any income based fee and the capital gains incentive fee otherwise earned by our investment adviser if, during the most recent four full calendar quarter periods ending on or prior to the date such payment is to be made, the sum of (a) our aggregate distributions to our stockholders and (b) our change in net assets (defined as total assets less indebtedness and before taking into account any income based fees or capital gains incentive fees accrued during the period) is less than 7.0% of our net assets (defined as total assets less indebtedness) at the beginning of such period. These calculations will be adjusted for any share issuances or repurchases. Any such deferred fees will be carried over for payment in subsequent calculation periods to the extent such payment can then be made under the investment advisory and management agreement.

If a portfolio company defaults on a loan that is structured to provide interest, it is possible that accrued and unpaid interest previously used in the calculation of income based fees will become uncollectible. Our investment adviser is not under any obligation to reimburse us for any part of income based fees it received that was based on accrued income that we never receive.

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RISKS RELATING TO OUR INVESTMENTS

Declines in market prices and liquidity in the corporate debt markets can result in significant net unrealized depreciation of our portfolio, which in turn would reduce our net asset value.

As a BDC, we are required to carry our investments at market value or, if no market value is ascertainable, at fair value as determined in good faith by or under the direction of our board of directors. We may take into account the following types of factors, if relevant, in determining the fair value of our investments: the enterprise value of a portfolio company (the entire value of the portfolio company to a market participant, including the sum of the values of debt and equity securities used to capitalize the enterprise at a point in time), the nature and realizable value of any collateral, the portfolio company’s ability to make payments and its earnings and discounted cash flow, the markets in which the portfolio company does business, a comparison of the portfolio company’s securities to similar publicly traded securities, changes in the interest rate environment and the credit markets generally that may affect the price at which similar investments would trade in their principal markets and other relevant factors. When an external event such as a purchase transaction, public offering or subsequent equity sale occurs, we use the pricing indicated by the external event to corroborate our valuation. While most of our investments are not publicly traded, applicable accounting standards require us to assume as part of our valuation process that our investments are sold in a principal market to market participants (even if we plan on holding an investment through its maturity). As a result, volatility in the capital markets can also adversely affect our investment valuations. Decreases in the market values or fair values of our investments are recorded as unrealized depreciation. The effect of all of these factors on our portfolio can reduce our net asset value (and, as a result our asset coverage calculation) by increasing net unrealized depreciation in our portfolio. Depending on market conditions, we could incur substantial realized and/or unrealized losses, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Economic recessions or downturns could impair our portfolio companies and harm our operating results.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, many of our portfolio companies may be susceptible to economic downturns or recessions and may be unable to repay our loans during these periods. Therefore, during these periods our non-performing assets may increase and the value of our portfolio may decrease if we are required to write down the values of our investments. Adverse economic conditions may also decrease the value of collateral securing some of our loans and the value of our equity investments. Economic slowdowns or recessions could lead to financial losses in our portfolio and a decrease in revenues, net income and assets. Unfavorable economic conditions also could increase our funding costs, limit our access to the capital markets or result in a decision by lenders not to extend credit to us. These events could prevent us from increasing investments and harm our operating results. We experienced to some extent such effects as a result of the economic downturn that occurred in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and from 2008 through 2009 and may experience such effects again in any future downturn or recession.

A portfolio company’s failure to satisfy financial or operating covenants imposed by us or other lenders could lead to defaults and, potentially, acceleration of the time when the loans are due and foreclosure on its assets representing collateral for its obligations, which could trigger cross defaults under other agreements and jeopardize our portfolio company’s ability to meet its obligations under the debt investments that we hold and the value of any equity securities we own. We may incur expenses to the extent necessary to seek recovery upon default or to negotiate new terms with a defaulting portfolio company.

Investments in privately held middle-market companies involve significant risks.

We primarily invest in privately held U.S. middle-market companies. Investments in privately held middle-market companies involve a number of significant risks, including the following:

these companies may have limited financial resources and may be unable to meet their obligations, which may be accompanied by a deterioration in the value of any collateral and a reduction in the likelihood of us realizing our investment;

they typically have shorter operating histories, narrower product lines and smaller market shares than larger businesses, which tend to render them more vulnerable to competitors’ actions and market conditions, as well as general economic downturns;

they typically depend on the management talents and efforts of a small group of persons; therefore, the death, disability, resignation or termination of one or more of these persons could have a material adverse effect on such portfolio company and, in turn, on us;

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there is generally little public information about these companies. These companies and their financial information are generally not subject to the Exchange Act (as defined below) and other regulations that govern public companies, and we may be unable to uncover all material information about these companies, which may prevent us from making a fully informed investment decision and cause us to lose money on our investments;

they generally have less predictable operating results and may require substantial additional capital to support their operations, finance expansion or maintain their competitive position;

we, our executive officers, directors and our investment adviser may, in the ordinary course of business, be named as defendants in litigation arising from our investments in our portfolio companies and may, as a result, incur significant costs and expenses in connection with such litigation;

changes in laws and regulations (including the tax laws), as well as their interpretations, may adversely affect their business, financial structure or prospects; and

they may have difficulty accessing the capital markets to meet future capital needs.

Our debt investments may be risky and we could lose all or part of our investment.

The debt that we invest in is typically not initially rated by any rating agency, but we believe that if such investments were rated, they would be below investment grade (rated lower than “Baa3” by Moody’s Investors Service, lower than “BBB-” by Fitch Ratings or lower than “BBB-” by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services), which under the guidelines established by these entities is an indication of having predominantly speculative characteristics with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal. Bonds that are rated below investment grade are sometimes referred to as “high yield bonds” or “junk bonds.” Therefore, our investments may result in an above average amount of risk and volatility or loss of principal. While the debt we invest in is often secured, such security does not guarantee that we will receive principal and interest payments according to the terms of the loan, or that the value of any collateral will be sufficient to allow us to recover all or a portion of the outstanding amount of the loan should we be forced to enforce our remedies.

We also may invest in assets other than first and second lien and subordinated debt investments, including high-yield securities, U.S. government securities, credit derivatives and other structured securities and certain direct equity investments. These investments entail additional risks that could adversely affect our investment returns.

Investments in equity securities, many of which are illiquid with no readily available market, involve a substantial degree of risk.

We may purchase common and other equity securities. Although common stock has historically generated higher average total returns than fixed income securities over the long-term, common stock also has experienced significantly more volatility in those returns. The equity securities we acquire may fail to appreciate and may decline in value or become worthless and our ability to recover our investment will depend on the underlying portfolio company’s success. Investments in equity securities involve a number of significant risks, including:

any equity investment we make in a portfolio company could be subject to further dilution as a result of the issuance of additional equity interests and to serious risks as a junior security that will be subordinate to all indebtedness (including trade creditors) or senior securities in the event that the issuer is unable to meet its obligations or becomes subject to a bankruptcy process;

to the extent that the portfolio company requires additional capital and is unable to obtain it, we may not recover our investment; and

in some cases, equity securities in which we invest will not pay current dividends, and our ability to realize a return on our investment, as well as to recover our investment, will be dependent on the success of the portfolio company. Even if the portfolio company is successful, our ability to realize the value of our investment may be dependent on the occurrence of a liquidity event, such as a public offering or the sale of the portfolio company. It is likely to take a significant amount of time before a liquidity event occurs or we can otherwise sell our investment. In addition, the equity securities we receive or invest in may be subject to restrictions on resale during periods in which it could be advantageous to sell them.

There are special risks associated with investing in preferred securities, including:
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preferred securities may include provisions that permit the issuer, at its discretion, to defer distributions for a stated period without any adverse consequences to the issuer. If we own a preferred security that is deferring its distributions, we may be required to report income for tax purposes before we receive such distributions;

preferred securities are subordinated to debt in terms of priority to income and liquidation payments, and therefore will be subject to greater credit risk than debt;

preferred securities may be substantially less liquid than many other securities, such as common stock or U.S. government securities; and

generally, preferred security holders have no voting rights with respect to the issuing company, subject to limited exceptions.

Additionally, when we invest in first lien senior secured loans (including “unitranche” loans, which are loans that combine both senior and mezzanine debt, generally in a first lien position), second lien senior secured loans or subordinated debt, we may acquire warrants or other equity securities as well. Our goal is ultimately to dispose of such equity interests and realize gains upon our disposition of such interests. However, the equity interests we receive may not appreciate in value and, in fact, may decline in value. Accordingly, we may not be able to realize gains from our equity interests and any gains that we do realize on the disposition of any equity interests may not be sufficient to offset any other losses we experience.

We may invest, to the extent permitted by law, in the equity securities of investment funds that are operating pursuant to certain exceptions to the Investment Company Act and in advisers to similar investment funds and, to the extent we so invest, will bear our ratable share of any such company’s expenses, including management and performance fees. We will also remain obligated to pay the base management fee, income based fee and capital gains incentive fee to our investment adviser with respect to the assets invested in the securities and instruments of such companies. With respect to each of these investments, each of our common stockholders will bear his or her share of the base management fee, income based fee and capital gains incentive fee due to our investment adviser as well as indirectly bearing the management and performance fees and other expenses of any such investment funds or advisers.

There may be circumstances in which our debt investments could be subordinated to claims of other creditors or we could be subject to lender liability claims.

If one of our portfolio companies were to go bankrupt, even though we may have structured our interest as senior debt, depending on the facts and circumstances, a bankruptcy court might recharacterize our debt holding as an equity investment and subordinate all or a portion of our claim to that of other creditors. In addition, lenders can be subject to lender liability claims for actions taken by them where they become too involved in the borrower’s business or exercise control over the borrower. For example, we could become subject to a lender’s liability claim, if, among other things, we actually render significant managerial assistance.

Our portfolio companies may incur debt or issue equity securities that rank equally with, or senior to, our investments in such companies.

Our portfolio companies may have, or may be permitted to incur, other debt, or issue other equity securities, that rank equally with, or senior to, our investments. By their terms, such instruments may provide that the holders are entitled to receive payment of dividends, interest or principal on or before the dates on which we are entitled to receive payments in respect of our investments. These debt instruments would usually prohibit the portfolio companies from paying interest on or repaying our investments in the event and during the continuance of a default under such debt. Also, in the event of insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or bankruptcy of a portfolio company, holders of securities ranking senior to our investment in that portfolio company typically are entitled to receive payment in full before we receive any distribution in respect of our investment. After repaying such holders, the portfolio company may not have any remaining assets to use for repaying its obligation to us. In the case of securities ranking equally with our investments, we would have to share on an equal basis any distributions with other security holders in the event of an insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or bankruptcy of the relevant portfolio company.

The rights we may have with respect to the collateral securing any junior priority loans we make to our portfolio companies may also be limited pursuant to the terms of one or more intercreditor agreements (including agreements governing “first out” and “last out” structures) that we enter into with the holders of senior debt. Under such an intercreditor agreement, at any time that senior obligations are outstanding, we may forfeit certain rights with respect to the collateral to the holders of the
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senior obligations. These rights may include the right to commence enforcement proceedings against the collateral, the right to control the conduct of such enforcement proceedings, the right to approve amendments to collateral documents, the right to release liens on the collateral and the right to waive past defaults under collateral documents. We may not have the ability to control or direct such actions, even if as a result our rights as junior lenders are adversely affected.

When we are a debt or minority equity investor in a portfolio company, we are often not in a position to exert influence on the entity, and other equity holders and management of the company may make decisions that could decrease the value of our investment in such portfolio company.

When we make debt or minority equity investments, we are subject to the risk that a portfolio company may make business decisions with which we disagree and the other equity holders and management of such company may take risks or otherwise act in ways that do not serve our interests. As a result, a portfolio company may make decisions that could decrease the value of our investment.

Our portfolio companies may be highly leveraged.

Some of our portfolio companies may be highly leveraged, which may have adverse consequences to these companies and to us as an investor. These companies may be subject to restrictive financial and operating covenants and the leverage may impair these companies’ ability to finance their future operations and capital needs. As a result, these companies’ flexibility to respond to changing business and economic conditions and to take advantage of business opportunities may be limited. Further, a leveraged company’s income and net assets will tend to increase or decrease at a greater rate than if borrowed money were not used.

Our investment adviser’s fee structure may induce it to make certain investments on our behalf, including speculative investments.

The fees payable by us to our investment adviser may create an incentive for our investment adviser to make investments on our behalf that are risky or more speculative than would be the case in the absence of such compensation arrangement. The way in which income based fees payable to our investment adviser are determined, which are calculated as a percentage of the return on invested capital, may encourage our investment adviser to use leverage to increase the return on our investments. Under certain circumstances, the use of leverage may increase the likelihood of default, which would disfavor the holders of our common stock and the holders of securities convertible into our common stock. In addition, our investment adviser will receive the capital gains incentive fee based, in part, upon net capital gains realized on our investments. Unlike income based fees, there is no hurdle rate applicable to the capital gains incentive fee. As a result, our investment adviser may have a tendency to invest more in investments that are likely to result in capital gains as compared to income producing securities. Such a practice could result in our investing in more speculative securities than would otherwise be the case, which could result in higher investment losses, particularly during economic downturns.

The income based fees are computed and paid on income that has been accrued but not yet received in cash, including as a result of investments with a deferred interest feature such as debt instruments with PIK interest, preferred stock with PIK dividends and zero coupon securities. If a portfolio company defaults on a loan that is structured to provide accrued interest, it is possible that accrued interest previously used in the calculation of the income based fee will become uncollectible. Our investment adviser is not under any obligation to reimburse us for any part of the fees it received that were based on such accrued interest that we never actually received.

Because of the structure of the income based fees, it is possible that we may have to pay income based fees in a quarter during which we incur a loss. For example, if we receive pre-incentive fee net investment income in excess of the hurdle rate for a quarter, we will pay the applicable income based fees even if we have incurred a loss in that quarter due to realized and/or unrealized capital losses. In addition, if market interest rates rise, our investment adviser may be able to invest our funds in debt instruments that provide for a higher return, which would increase our pre-incentive fee net investment income and make it easier for our investment adviser to surpass the fixed hurdle rate and receive income based fees.

Our investments in foreign companies may involve significant risks in addition to the risks inherent in U.S. investments.

Our investment strategy contemplates potential investments in foreign companies. Investing in foreign companies may expose us to additional risks not typically associated with investing in U.S. companies. These risks include changes in exchange control regulations, political and social instability, expropriation, imposition of foreign taxes (potentially at confiscatory levels), less liquid markets, less available information than is generally the case in the U.S., higher transaction costs, less government
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supervision of exchanges, brokers and issuers, less developed bankruptcy laws, difficulty in enforcing contractual obligations, lack of uniform accounting and auditing standards and greater price volatility.

Although we expect most of our investments will be U.S. dollar denominated, our investments that are denominated in a foreign currency will be subject to the risk that the value of a particular currency will change in relation to one or more other currencies. Among the factors that may affect currency values are trade balances, the level of short-term interest rates, differences in relative values of similar assets in different currencies, long-term opportunities for investment and capital appreciation and political developments. We may employ hedging techniques to minimize these risks, but we cannot assure you that such strategies will be effective or without risk to us.

We may expose ourselves to risks if we engage in hedging transactions.

We have and may in the future enter into hedging transactions, which may expose us to risks associated with such transactions. We may utilize instruments such as forward contracts, currency options and interest rate swaps, caps, collars and floors to seek to hedge against fluctuations in the relative values of our portfolio positions from changes in currency exchange rates and market interest rates. Use of these hedging instruments may include counter-party credit risk.

Hedging against a decline in the values of our portfolio positions does not eliminate the possibility of fluctuations in the values of such positions or prevent losses if the values of such positions decline. However, such hedging can establish other positions designed to gain from those same developments, thereby offsetting the decline in the value of such portfolio positions. Such hedging transactions may also limit the opportunity for gain if the values of the underlying portfolio positions should increase. Moreover, it may not be possible to hedge against an exchange rate or interest rate fluctuation that is so generally anticipated that we are not able to enter into a hedging transaction at an acceptable price.

The success of our hedging transactions will depend on our ability to correctly predict movements in currencies and interest rates. Therefore, while we may enter into such transactions to seek to reduce currency exchange rate and interest rate risks, unanticipated changes in currency exchange rates or interest rates may result in poorer overall investment performance than if we had not engaged in any such hedging transactions. In addition, the degree of correlation between price movements of the instruments used in a hedging strategy and price movements in the portfolio positions being hedged may vary. Moreover, for a variety of reasons, we may not seek to (or be able to) establish a perfect correlation between such hedging instruments and the portfolio holdings being hedged. Any such imperfect correlation may prevent us from achieving the intended hedge and expose us to risk of loss. In addition, it may not be possible to hedge fully or perfectly against currency fluctuations affecting the value of securities denominated in non-U.S. currencies because the value of those securities is likely to fluctuate as a result of factors not related to currency fluctuations. See also “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business—We are exposed to risks associated with changes in interest rates.”

RISKS RELATING TO OUR COMMON STOCK AND PUBLICLY TRADED NOTES

Our shares of common stock have traded at a discount from net asset value and may do so again, which could limit our ability to raise additional equity capital.

Shares of closed‑end investment companies frequently trade at a market price that is less than the net asset value that is attributable to those shares. This characteristic of closed‑end investment companies is separate and distinct from the risk that our net asset value per share may decline. It is not possible to accurately predict whether any shares of our common stock will trade at, above, or below net asset value. In the recent past (including during much of 2020), the stocks of BDCs as an industry, including at times shares of our common stock, have traded below net asset value and during much of 2009 traded at near historic lows as a result of concerns over liquidity, leverage restrictions and distribution requirements. See “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business—The capital markets may experience periods of disruption and instability. Such market conditions may materially and adversely affect debt and equity capital markets, which may have a negative impact on our business and operations.” When our common stock is trading below its net asset value per share, we will generally not be able to issue additional shares of our common stock at its market price without first obtaining approval for such issuance from our stockholders and our independent directors. Pursuant to approval granted at a special meeting of stockholders held on August 13, 2020, we currently are permitted to sell or otherwise issue shares of our common stock at a price below net asset value, subject to certain limitations and determinations that must be made by our board of directors. Such stockholder approval expires on August 13, 2021.

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There is a risk that investors in our common stock may not receive dividends or that our dividends may not grow over time and that investors in our debt securities may not receive all of the interest income to which they are entitled.

We intend to make distributions on a quarterly basis to our stockholders out of assets legally available for distribution. We cannot assure you that we will achieve investment results that will allow us to make a specified level of cash distributions or year-to-year increases in cash distributions. If we declare a dividend and if more stockholders opt to receive cash distributions rather than participate in our dividend reinvestment plan, we may be forced to sell some of our investments in order to make cash dividend payments.

In addition, due to the asset coverage test applicable to us as a BDC, we may be limited in our ability to make distributions. Certain of the Facilities may also limit our ability to declare dividends if we default under certain provisions. Further, if we invest a greater amount of assets in non-income producing securities, it could reduce the amount available for distribution and may also inhibit our ability to make required interest payments to holders of our debt, which may cause a default under the terms of our debt agreements. Such a default could materially increase our cost of raising capital, as well as cause us to incur penalties under the terms of our debt agreements.

Provisions of the Maryland General Corporation Law and of our charter and bylaws could deter takeover attempts and have an adverse effect on the price of our common stock.

The Maryland General Corporation Law (the “MGCL”), our charter and our bylaws contain provisions that may discourage, delay or make more difficult a change in control of Ares Capital or the removal of our directors. We are subject to the Maryland Business Combination Act (the “Business Combination Act”), subject to any applicable requirements of the Investment Company Act. Our board of directors has adopted a resolution exempting from the Business Combination Act any business combination between us and any other person, subject to prior approval of such business combination by our board, including approval by a majority of our disinterested directors. If the resolution exempting business combinations is repealed or our board or disinterested directors do not approve a business combination, the Business Combination Act may discourage third parties from trying to acquire control of us and may increase the difficulty of consummating such an offer. Our bylaws exempt from the Maryland Control Share Acquisition Act (the “Control Share Acquisition Act”) acquisitions of our stock by any person. If we amend our bylaws to repeal the exemption from the Control Share Acquisition Act, subject to any applicable requirements of the Investment Company Act, the Control Share Acquisition Act also may make it more difficult for a third party to obtain control of us and may increase the difficulty of consummating such an offer.

We have also adopted measures that may make it difficult for a third party to obtain control of us, including provisions of our charter classifying our board of directors into three classes serving staggered three-year terms, and provisions of our charter authorizing our board of directors to classify or reclassify shares of our stock into one or more classes or series, to cause the issuance of additional shares of our stock, and to amend our charter from time to time, without stockholder approval, to increase or decrease the aggregate number of shares of stock or the number of shares of stock of any class or series that we have authority to issue. These provisions, as well as other provisions of our charter and bylaws, may discourage, delay, defer, make more difficult or prevent a transaction or a change in control that might otherwise be in stockholders’ best interest.

Our bylaws designate the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees.
 
Our bylaws provide that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland, or, if that Court does not have jurisdiction, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, will be the sole and exclusive forum for: (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (ii) any Internal Corporate Claim, as such term is defined in Section 1-101(p) of the MGCL, including, without limitation, (a) any action asserting a claim of breach of any duty owed by any of our directors or officers or other employees to us or to our stockholders or (b) any action asserting a claim against us or any of our directors or officers or other employees arising pursuant to any provision of the MGCL or our charter or bylaws or (iii) any action asserting a claim against us or any of our directors or officers or other employees that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring or holding any interest in our shares shall be deemed to have notice of and to have consented and waived any objection to this exclusive forum provision of our bylaws, as the same may be amended from time to time. Our board of directors, without stockholder approval, adopted this exclusive forum provision so that we can respond to such litigation more efficiently, reduce the costs associated with our responses to such litigation, particularly litigation that might otherwise be brought in multiple forums, and make it less likely that plaintiffs’ attorneys will be able to employ such litigation to coerce us into otherwise unjustified settlements. However, this exclusive forum provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that such stockholder believes is favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other
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employees, if any, and may discourage lawsuits against us and our directors, officers or other employees, if any. We believe the risk of a court declining to enforce this exclusive forum provision is remote, as the General Assembly of Maryland has specifically amended the MGCL to authorize the adoption of such provision. However, if a court were to find such provision inapplicable to, or unenforceable in respect of, one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings notwithstanding that the MGCL expressly provides that the charter or bylaws of a Maryland corporation may require that any Internal Corporate Claim be brought only in courts sitting in one or more specified jurisdictions, we may incur additional costs that we do not currently anticipate associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Investing in our common stock may involve an above average degree of risk.

The investments we make in accordance with our investment objective may result in a higher amount of risk than alternative investment options and volatility or loss of principal. Our investments in portfolio companies may be highly speculative and aggressive and, therefore, an investment in our securities may not be suitable for someone with lower risk tolerance.

The market price of our common stock may fluctuate significantly.

The capital and credit markets have experienced periods of extreme volatility and disruption over the past several years (including throughout much of 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic). The market price and liquidity of the market for shares of our common stock may be significantly affected by numerous factors, some of which are beyond our control and may not be directly related to our operating performance. These factors include:

significant volatility in the market price and trading volume of securities of publicly traded RICs, BDCs or other companies in our sector, which are not necessarily related to the operating performance of these companies;

price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market from time to time;

the inclusion or exclusion of our common stock from certain indices;

changes in law, regulatory policies or tax guidelines, or interpretations thereof, particularly with respect to RICs or BDCs;

loss of our RIC status;

our ability to manage our capital resources effectively;

changes in our earnings or variations in our operating results;

changes in the value of our portfolio of investments;

any shortfall in investment income or net investment income or any increase in losses from levels expected by investors or securities analysts;

departure of Ares’ key personnel;

short-selling pressure with respect to shares of our common stock or BDCs generally;

future sales of our securities convertible into or exchangeable or exercisable for our common stock or the conversion of such securities, including the Convertible Unsecured Notes;

uncertainty surrounding the strength of the U.S. economy;

uncertainty between the U.S. and other countries with respect to trade policies, treaties, and tariffs; and

general economic trends and other external factors.

In the past, following periods of volatility in the market price of a company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been brought against that company. If our stock price fluctuates significantly, we may be the target of
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securities litigation in the future. Securities litigation could result in substantial costs and divert management’s attention and resources from our business.

We may in the future determine to issue preferred stock, which could adversely affect the market value of our common stock.

The issuance of shares of preferred stock with dividend or conversion rights, liquidation preferences or other economic terms favorable to the holders of preferred stock could adversely affect the market price for our common stock by making an investment in the common stock less attractive. In addition, the dividends on any preferred stock we issue must be cumulative. Payment of dividends and repayment of the liquidation preference of preferred stock must take preference over any dividends or other payments to our common stockholders, and holders of preferred stock are not subject to any of our expenses or losses and are not entitled to participate in any income or appreciation in excess of their stated preference (other than convertible preferred stock that converts into common stock). In addition, under the Investment Company Act, preferred stock constitutes a “senior security” for purposes of the asset coverage test.

The net asset value per share of our common stock may be diluted if we sell shares of our common stock in one or more offerings at prices below the then current net asset value per share of our common stock or securities to subscribe for or convertible into shares of our common stock.
At a special meeting of stockholders held on August 13, 2020, subject to certain determinations required to be made by our board of directors, our stockholders approved our ability to sell or otherwise issue shares of our common stock, in an amount not exceeding 25% of our then outstanding common stock, at a price below the then current net asset value per share during a period that began on August 13, 2020 and expires on August 13, 2021.
In addition, at our 2009 annual stockholders meeting, our stockholders approved a proposal authorizing us to sell or otherwise issue warrants or securities to subscribe for or convertible into shares of our common stock subject to certain limitations (including, without limitation, that the number of shares issuable does not exceed 25% of our then outstanding common stock and that the exercise or conversion price thereof is not, at the date of issuance, less than the greater of the market value per share and the net asset value per share of our common stock). The authorization granted to sell or issue warrants or securities to subscribe for or convertible into shares of our common stock has no expiration.
Any decision to sell shares of our common stock below its then current net asset value per share or securities to subscribe for or convertible into shares of our common stock would be subject to the determination by our board of directors that such issuance is in our and our stockholders’ best interests.
If we were to sell shares of our common stock below its then current net asset value per share, such sales would result in an immediate dilution to the net asset value per share of our common stock. This dilution would occur as a result of the sale of shares at a price below the then current net asset value per share of our common stock and a proportionately greater decrease in the stockholders’ interest in our earnings and assets and their voting interest in us than the increase in our assets resulting from such issuance. Because the number of shares of common stock that could be so issued and the timing of any issuance is not currently known, the actual dilutive effect cannot be predicted.
In addition, if we issue warrants or securities to subscribe for or convertible into shares of our common stock, subject to certain limitations, the exercise or conversion price per share could be less than net asset value per share at the time of exercise or conversion (including through the operation of anti‑dilution protections). Because we would incur expenses in connection with any issuance of such securities, such issuance could result in a dilution of the net asset value per share at the time of exercise or conversion. This dilution would include reduction in net asset value per share as a result of the proportionately greater decrease in the stockholders’ interest in our earnings and assets and their voting interest than the increase in our assets resulting from such issuance.
Further, if our current stockholders do not purchase any shares to maintain their percentage interest when we issue new shares, regardless of whether such offering is above or below the then current net asset value per share, their voting power will be diluted.
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Our stockholders will experience dilution in their ownership percentage if they opt out of our dividend reinvestment plan.

All dividends declared in cash payable to stockholders that are participants in our dividend reinvestment plan are automatically reinvested in shares of our common stock. As a result, our stockholders that opt out of our dividend reinvestment plan will experience dilution in their ownership percentage of our common stock over time.

Our stockholders may experience dilution upon the conversion of the Convertible Unsecured Notes.
As of December 31, 2020, the 2022 Convertible Notes are convertible into shares of our common stock beginning on August 1, 2021 and the 2024 Convertible Notes are convertible into shares of our common stock beginning on December 1, 2023 or, under certain circumstances, earlier. Upon conversion of the 2022 Convertible Unsecured Notes, we have the choice to pay or deliver, as the case may be, at our election, cash, shares of our common stock or a combination of cash and shares of our common stock. As of December 31, 2020, the conversion price of the 2022 Convertible Notes was effectively $19.09 per share and the conversion price of the 2024 Convertible Notes was effectively $19.88 per share, in each case taking into account certain de minimis adjustments that will be made on the conversion date and subject to further adjustment in certain circumstances. If we elect to deliver shares of common stock upon a conversion at the time our tangible book value per share exceeds the conversion price in effect at such time, our stockholders may incur dilution. In addition, our stockholders will experience dilution in their ownership percentage of common stock upon our issuance of common stock in connection with the conversion of the Convertible Unsecured Notes and any dividends paid on our common stock will also be paid on shares issued in connection with such conversion after such issuance.
Our stockholders may receive shares of our common stock as dividends, which could result in adverse cash flow consequences to them.

In order to satisfy the Annual Distribution Requirement applicable to RICs, we have the ability to declare a large portion of a dividend in shares of our common stock instead of in cash. As long as a portion of such dividend is paid in cash (which portion could be as low as 20%) and certain requirements are met, the entire distribution would be treated as a dividend for U.S. federal income tax purposes. As a result, a stockholder would be taxed on 100% of the fair market value of the shares received as part of the dividend on the date a stockholder received it in the same manner as a cash dividend, even though most of the dividend was paid in shares of our common stock.

Sales of substantial amounts of our common stock in the public market may have an adverse effect on the market price of our common stock.

Sales of substantial amounts of our common stock, or the availability of such common stock for sale (including as a result of the conversion of our Convertible Unsecured Notes into common stock), could adversely affect the prevailing market prices for our common stock. If this occurs and continues, it could impair our ability to raise additional capital through the sale of securities should we desire to do so.

The trading market or market value of our publicly issued debt securities may fluctuate.

Our publicly issued debt securities may or may not have an established trading market. We cannot assure holders of our debt securities that a trading market for our publicly issued debt securities will ever develop or be maintained if developed. In addition to our creditworthiness, many factors may materially adversely affect the trading market for, and market value of, our publicly issued debt securities. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

the time remaining to the maturity of these debt securities;

the outstanding principal amount of debt securities with terms identical to these debt securities;

the ratings assigned by national statistical ratings agencies;

the general economic environment;

the supply of such debt securities trading in the secondary market, if any;

the redemption or repayment features, if any, of these debt securities;

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the level, direction and volatility of market interest rates generally; and

market rates of interest higher or lower than rates borne by the debt securities.

Holders of our debt securities should also be aware that there may be a limited number of buyers if and when they decide to sell their debt securities. This too may materially adversely affect the market value of the debt securities or the trading market for the debt securities.

Terms relating to redemption may materially adversely affect our noteholders’ return on any debt securities that we may issue.

If our noteholders’ debt securities are redeemable at our option, we may choose to redeem their debt securities at times when prevailing interest rates are lower than the interest rate paid on their debt securities. In addition, if our noteholders’ debt securities are subject to mandatory redemption, we may be required to redeem their debt securities also at times when prevailing interest rates are lower than the interest rate paid on their debt securities. In this circumstance, our noteholders may not be able to reinvest the redemption proceeds in a comparable security at an effective interest rate as high as their debt securities being redeemed.

Our credit ratings may not reflect all risks of an investment in our debt securities.

Our credit ratings are an assessment by third parties of our ability to pay our obligations. Consequently, real or anticipated changes in our credit ratings will generally affect the market value of our debt securities. Our credit ratings, however, may not reflect the potential impact of risks related to market conditions generally or other factors discussed above on the market value of or trading market for the publicly issued debt securities.

GENERAL RISK FACTORS

Global economic, political and market conditions, including uncertainty about the financial stability of the United States, could have a significant adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Downgrades by rating agencies to the U.S. government’s credit rating or concerns about its credit and deficit levels in general could cause interest rates and borrowing costs to rise, which may negatively impact both the perception of credit risk associated with our debt portfolio and our ability to access the debt markets on favorable terms. In addition, a decreased U.S. government credit rating could create broader financial turmoil and uncertainty, which may weigh heavily on our financial performance and the value of our common stock.

Deterioration in the economic conditions in the Eurozone and globally, including instability in financial markets, may pose a risk to our business. In recent years, financial markets have been affected at times by a number of global macroeconomic and political events, including the following: large sovereign debts and fiscal deficits of several countries in Europe and in emerging markets jurisdictions, levels of non‑performing loans on the balance sheets of European banks, the potential effect of any European country leaving the Eurozone, the effect of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union (the “EU”), and market volatility and loss of investor confidence driven by political events. The decision made in the United Kingdom to leave the EU has led to volatility in global financial markets and may lead to weakening in consumer, corporate and financial confidence in the United Kingdom and Europe. Market and economic disruptions have affected, and may in the future affect, consumer confidence levels and spending, personal bankruptcy rates, levels of incurrence and default on consumer debt and home prices, among other factors. We cannot assure you that market disruptions in Europe, including the increased cost of funding for certain governments and financial institutions, will not impact the global economy, and we cannot assure you that assistance packages will be available, or if available, be sufficient to stabilize countries and markets in Europe or elsewhere affected by a financial crisis. To the extent uncertainty regarding any economic recovery in Europe negatively impacts consumer confidence and consumer credit factors, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be significantly and adversely affected.

The Chinese capital markets have also experienced periods of instability over the past several years. The current political climate has also intensified concerns about a potential trade war between the U.S. and China in connection with each country’s recent or proposed tariffs on the other country’s products. These market and economic disruptions and the potential trade war with China have affected, and may in the future affect, the U.S. capital markets, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.

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The current global financial market situation, as well as various social and political circumstances in the U.S. and around the world (including wars and other forms of conflict, terrorist acts, security operations and catastrophic events such as fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and global health epidemics), may contribute to increased market volatility and economic uncertainties or deterioration in the U.S. and worldwide, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations. Additionally, these market and economic disruptions could cause interest rates to be volatile, which may negatively impact our ability to access the debt and capital markets on favorable terms.

We may experience fluctuations in our quarterly results.

We could experience fluctuations in our quarterly operating results due to a number of factors, including the interest rates payable on the debt investments we make, the default rates on such investments, the level of our expenses, variations in and the timing of the recognition of realized and unrealized gains or losses, the degree to which we encounter competition in our markets and general economic conditions. As a result of these factors, results for any period should not be relied upon as being indicative of performance in future periods.

We are dependent on information systems and systems failures could significantly disrupt our business, which may, in turn, negatively affect our liquidity, financial condition or results of operations.

Our business is dependent on our and third parties’ communications and information systems. Further, in the ordinary course of our business we or our investment adviser may engage certain third party service providers to provide us with services necessary for our business. Any failure or interruption of those systems or services, including as a result of the termination or suspension of an agreement with any third-party service providers, could cause delays or other problems in our business activities. Our financial, accounting, data processing, backup or other operating systems and facilities may fail to operate properly or become disabled or damaged as a result of a number of factors including events that are wholly or partially beyond our control and adversely affect our business. There could be:

sudden electrical or telecommunications outages;

natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes;

disease pandemics;

events arising from local or larger scale political or social matters, including terrorist acts; and

cyber-attacks.

These events, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results and negatively affect the market price of our common stock and our ability to pay dividends to our stockholders.

Cybersecurity risks and cyber incidents may adversely affect our business or the business of our portfolio companies by causing a disruption to our operations or the operations of our portfolio companies, a compromise or corruption of our confidential information or the confidential information of our portfolio companies and/or damage to our business relationships or the business relationships of our portfolio companies, all of which could negatively impact the business, financial condition and operating results of us or our portfolio companies.

A cyber incident is considered to be any adverse event that threatens the confidentiality, integrity or availability of the information resources of us or our portfolio companies. These incidents may be an intentional attack or an unintentional event and could involve gaining unauthorized access to our information systems or those of our portfolio companies for purposes of misappropriating assets, stealing confidential information, corrupting data or causing operational disruption. We and our investment adviser’s employees have been and expect to continue to be the target of fraudulent calls, emails and other forms of activities. The result of these incidents may include disrupted operations, misstated or unreliable financial data, liability for stolen assets or information, increased cybersecurity protection and insurance costs, litigation and damage to business relationships. The costs related to cyber or other security threats or disruptions may not be fully insured or indemnified by other means. As our and our portfolio companies’ reliance on technology has increased, so have the risks posed to our information systems, both internal and those provided by Ares Management and third-party service providers, and the information systems of our portfolio companies. Ares Management has implemented processes, procedures and internal controls to help mitigate
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cybersecurity risks and cyber intrusions, but these measures, as well as our increased awareness of the nature and extent of a risk of a cyber incident, do not guarantee that a cyber incident will not occur and/or that our financial results, operations or confidential information will not be negatively impacted by such an incident. In addition, cybersecurity has become a top priority for regulators around the world, and some jurisdictions have enacted laws requiring companies to notify individuals of data security breaches involving certain types of personal data. If we fail to comply with the relevant laws and regulations, we could suffer financial losses, a disruption of our business, liability to investors, regulatory intervention or reputational damage.

Ineffective internal controls could impact our business and operating results.

Our internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements because of its inherent limitations, including the possibility of human error, the circumvention or overriding of controls, or fraud. Even effective internal controls can provide only reasonable assurance with respect to the preparation and fair presentation of financial statements. If we fail to maintain the adequacy of our internal controls, including any failure to implement required new or improved controls, or if we experience difficulties in their implementation, our business and operating results could be harmed and we could fail to meet our financial reporting obligations.

Item 1B.    Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

Item 2.    Properties

We do not own any real estate or other physical properties materially important to our operation. Our headquarters are currently located at 245 Park Avenue, 44th Floor, New York, New York 10167. We are party to office leases pursuant to which we are leasing office facilities from third parties.
 
Item 3.    Legal Proceedings
    
    For a description of our legal proceedings, see Note 16 to our consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020.

Item 4.    Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.
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PART II

Item 5.    Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

PRICE RANGE OF COMMON STOCK AND DISTRIBUTIONS

Our common stock is traded on The NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “ARCC.” Our common stock has historically traded at prices both above and below our net asset value per share. It is not possible to predict whether our common stock will trade at, above or below net asset value. See “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Common Stock and Publicly Traded Notes—Our shares of common stock have traded at a discount from net asset value and may do so again, which could limit our ability to raise additional equity capital.”
The following table sets forth, for each fiscal quarter for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, the net asset value per share of our common stock, the range of high and low closing sales prices of our common stock, the closing sales price as a premium (discount) to net asset value and the dividends or distributions declared by us.

Net
Asset
Price Range
High
Sales Price
Premium
(Discount)
to Net Asset
Low
Sales Price
Premium
(Discount)
to Net Asset
Cash
Dividend
Per
Value(1)
High
Low
Value(2)
Value(2)
Share(3)
Year ended December 31, 2018
First Quarter
$16.84 $16.28 $15.25 (3.33)%(9.44)%$0.38 
Second Quarter
$17.05 $17.09 $15.90 0.23 %(6.74)%$0.38 
Third Quarter
$17.16 $17.51 $16.45