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Debt2024-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:OilAndGas1Member2024-03-310001321741The E3 Company, LLC – Line of Credit2024-03-310001321741The E3 Company, LLC – Term Debt2024-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:PrintingAndPublishingMember2024-03-310001321741Home Concepts Acquisition, Inc. – Line of Credit2024-03-310001321741Home Concepts Acquisition, Inc. – Term Debt2024-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredSecondLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2024-03-310001321741gain:AerospaceAndDefenseMembergain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredSecondLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2024-03-310001321741Galaxy Technologies Holdings, Inc. – Term Debt 12024-03-310001321741Galaxy Technologies Holdings, Inc. – Term Debt 22024-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredSecondLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:CargoTransportMember2024-03-310001321741Diligent Delivery Systems – Term Debt2024-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredSecondLienDebtMembergain:MachineryNonAgricultureNonConstructionAndNonElectronicMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2024-03-310001321741SFEG Holdings, Inc. – Term Debt2024-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2024-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:BuildingsAndRealEstateMember2024-03-310001321741Dema/Mai Holdings, Inc. - Preferred Equity2024-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:DiversifiedConglomerateServicesMember2024-03-310001321741Horizon Facilities Services, Inc. – Preferred Stock2024-03-310001321741Mason West, LLC – Preferred Stock2024-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMembergain:HealthcareEducationAndChildcareMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2024-03-310001321741Educators Resource, Inc. – Preferred Stock2024-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMembergain:HomeAndOfficeFurnishingsHousewaresAndDurableConsumerProductsMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2024-03-310001321741Brunswick Bowling Products, Inc. – Preferred Stock2024-03-310001321741Ginsey Home Solutions, Inc. – Preferred Stock2024-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:HotelsMotelsInnsAndGamingTotalMember2024-03-310001321741Nocturne Villa Rentals, Inc. – Preferred Stock2024-03-310001321741gain:LeisureAmusementMotionPicturesAndEntertainmentMembergain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2024-03-310001321741Schylling, Inc. – Preferred Stock2024-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:OilAndGas1Member2024-03-310001321741The E3 Company, LLC – Preferred Stock2024-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:PrintingAndPublishingMember2024-03-310001321741Home Concepts Acquisition, Inc. – Preferred Stock2024-03-310001321741us-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:CommonEquityEquivalentsMember2024-03-310001321741gain:AerospaceAndDefenseMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:CommonEquityEquivalentsMember2024-03-310001321741Galaxy Technologies Holdings, Inc. – Common Stock2024-03-310001321741us-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:CargoTransportMembergain:CommonEquityEquivalentsMember2024-03-310001321741Diligent Delivery Systems – Common Stock Warrants2024-03-310001321741gain:DiversifiedConglomerateManufacturingMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:CommonEquityEquivalentsMember2024-03-310001321741Phoenix Door Systems, Inc. – Common Stock2024-03-310001321741gain:HomeAndOfficeFurnishingsHousewaresAndDurableConsumerProductsMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:CommonEquityEquivalentsMember2024-03-310001321741Ginsey Home Solutions, Inc. – Common Stock2024-03-310001321741gain:MachineryNonAgricultureNonConstructionAndNonElectronicMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:CommonEquityEquivalentsMember2024-03-310001321741SFEG Holdings, Inc. – Common Stock2024-03-310001321741us-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:PersonalAndNonDurableConsumerProductsManufacturingOnlyMembergain:CommonEquityEquivalentsMember2024-03-310001321741Funko Acquisition Holdings, LLC – Common Units2024-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMember2024-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMembergain:DiversifiedConglomerateServicesMember2024-03-310001321741ImageWorks Display and Marketing Group, Inc. – Term Debt 2024-03-310001321741J.R. Hobbs Co. - Atlanta, LLC – Line of Credit2024-03-310001321741J.R. Hobbs Co. - Atlanta, LLC - Term Debt 12024-03-310001321741J.R. Hobbs Co. - Atlanta, LLC - Term Debt 22024-03-310001321741J.R. Hobbs Co. - Atlanta, LLC - Term Debt 32024-03-310001321741The Maids International, LLC – Term Debt2024-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMembergain:HomeAndOfficeFurnishingsHousewaresAndDurableConsumerProductsMember2024-03-310001321741Old World Christmas, Inc. – Term Debt2024-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMembergain:MiningSteelIronAndNonPreciousMetalsTotalMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMember2024-03-310001321741Utah Pacific Bridge & Steel, Ltd. - Term Debt2024-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMembergain:TelecommunicationsMember2024-03-310001321741B+T Group Acquisition, Inc. – Line of Credit 12024-03-310001321741B+T Group Acquisition, Inc. – Line of Credit 22024-03-310001321741B+T Group Acquisition, Inc. – Term Debt 2024-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredSecondLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMember2024-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredSecondLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMembergain:ChemicalsPlasticsAndRubberMember2024-03-310001321741PSI Molded Plastics, Inc. – Term Debt2024-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredSecondLienDebtMembergain:DiversifiedConglomerateManufacturingMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMember2024-03-310001321741Nth Degree, Inc. – Term Debt2024-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMember2024-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMembergain:ChemicalsPlasticsAndRubberMember2024-03-310001321741PSI Molded Plastics, Inc. – Preferred Stock2024-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMembergain:DiversifiedConglomerateServicesMember2024-03-310001321741ImageWorks Display and Marketing Group, Inc. – Preferred Stock2024-03-310001321741J.R. Hobbs Co. – Atlanta, LLC – Preferred Stock2024-03-310001321741The Maids International, LLC – Preferred Stock2024-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMembergain:HomeAndOfficeFurnishingsHousewaresAndDurableConsumerProductsMember2024-03-310001321741Old World Christmas, Inc. – Preferred Stock2024-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMembergain:MiningSteelIronAndNonPreciousMetalsTotalMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMember2024-03-310001321741Utah Pacific Bridge & Steel, Ltd. - Preferred Stock2024-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMembergain:TelecommunicationsMember2024-03-310001321741B+T Group Acquisition, Inc. – Preferred Stock2024-03-310001321741us-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMembergain:CommonEquityEquivalentsMember2024-03-310001321741us-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMembergain:DiversifiedConglomerateServicesMembergain:CommonEquityEquivalentsMember2024-03-310001321741Nth Degree Investment Group, LLC – Common Stock2024-03-310001321741us-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMembergain:TelecommunicationsMembergain:CommonEquityEquivalentsMember2024-03-310001321741B+T Group Acquisition, Inc. – Common Stock Warrants2024-03-310001321741us-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerControlledMembergain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMember2024-03-310001321741us-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerControlledMembergain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMembergain:DiversifiedConglomerateManufacturingMember2024-03-310001321741Edge Adhesives Holdings, Inc. – Term Debt2024-03-310001321741us-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerControlledMembergain:PreferredEquityMember2024-03-310001321741us-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerControlledMembergain:DiversifiedConglomerateManufacturingMembergain:PreferredEquityMember2024-03-310001321741Edge Adhesives Holdings, Inc. – Preferred Stock2024-03-310001321741us-gaap:CollateralPledgedMember2024-03-310001321741gain:FunkoAcquisitionHoldingsLLCMember2024-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2023-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:BuildingsAndRealEstateMember2023-03-310001321741Dema/Mai Holdings, Inc. – Term Debt2023-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMembergain:DiversifiedConglomerateManufacturingMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2023-03-310001321741Phoenix Door Systems, Inc – Line of Credit2023-03-310001321741Phoenix Door Systems, Inc – Line of Credit2022-04-012023-03-310001321741Phoenix Door Systems, Inc. – Term Debt2023-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:DiversifiedConglomerateServicesMember2023-03-310001321741Counsel Press, Inc. – Term Debt 12023-03-310001321741Counsel Press, Inc. – Term Debt 22023-03-310001321741Horizon Facilities Services, Inc. – Term Debt2023-03-310001321741Mason West, LLC – Term Debt2023-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMembergain:HealthcareEducationAndChildcareMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2023-03-310001321741Educators Resource, Inc. – Term Debt2023-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMembergain:HomeAndOfficeFurnishingsHousewaresAndDurableConsumerProductsMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2023-03-310001321741Brunswick Bowling Products, Inc. – Term Debt 12023-03-310001321741Brunswick Bowling Products, Inc. – Term Debt 22023-03-310001321741Ginsey Home Solutions, Inc. – Term Debt2023-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:HotelsMotelsInnsAndGamingTotalMember2023-03-310001321741Nocturne Luxury Villas, Inc. – Line of Credit2023-03-310001321741Nocturne Luxury Villas, Inc. – Term Debt2023-03-310001321741gain:LeisureAmusementMotionPicturesAndEntertainmentMembergain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2023-03-310001321741Schylling, Inc. – Term Debt2023-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredSecondLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2023-03-310001321741gain:AerospaceAndDefenseMembergain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredSecondLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2023-03-310001321741Galaxy Technologies Holdings, Inc. – Term Debt 12023-03-310001321741Galaxy Technologies Holdings, Inc. – Term Debt 22023-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredSecondLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:CargoTransportMember2023-03-310001321741Diligent Delivery Systems – Term Debt2023-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredSecondLienDebtMembergain:MachineryNonAgricultureNonConstructionAndNonElectronicMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2023-03-310001321741SFEG Holdings, Inc. – Term Debt 12023-03-310001321741SFEG Holdings, Inc. – Term Debt 22023-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2023-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:BuildingsAndRealEstateMember2023-03-310001321741Dema/Mai Holdings, Inc. – Preferred Equity2023-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:DiversifiedConglomerateServicesMember2023-03-310001321741Counsel Press, Inc. – Preferred Stock2023-03-310001321741Horizon Facilities Services, Inc. – Preferred Stock2023-03-310001321741Mason West, LLC – Preferred Stock2023-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMembergain:HealthcareEducationAndChildcareMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2023-03-310001321741Educators Resource, Inc. – Preferred Stock2023-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMembergain:HomeAndOfficeFurnishingsHousewaresAndDurableConsumerProductsMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2023-03-310001321741Brunswick Bowling Products, Inc. – Preferred Stock2023-03-310001321741Ginsey Home Solutions, Inc. – Preferred Stock2023-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:HotelsMotelsInnsAndGamingTotalMember2023-03-310001321741Nocturne Luxury Villas, Inc. – Preferred Stock2023-03-310001321741gain:LeisureAmusementMotionPicturesAndEntertainmentMembergain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2023-03-310001321741Schylling, Inc. – Preferred Stock2023-03-310001321741gain:MachineryNonAgricultureNonConstructionAndNonElectronicMembergain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMember2023-03-310001321741SFEG Holdings, Inc. – Preferred Stock2023-03-310001321741us-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:CommonEquityEquivalentsMember2023-03-310001321741gain:AerospaceAndDefenseMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:CommonEquityEquivalentsMember2023-03-310001321741Galaxy Technologies Holdings, Inc. – Common Stock2023-03-310001321741us-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:CargoTransportMembergain:CommonEquityEquivalentsMember2023-03-310001321741Diligent Delivery Systems – Common Stock Warrants2023-03-310001321741gain:DiversifiedConglomerateManufacturingMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:CommonEquityEquivalentsMember2023-03-310001321741Phoenix Door Systems, Inc. – Common Stock2023-03-310001321741gain:HomeAndOfficeFurnishingsHousewaresAndDurableConsumerProductsMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:CommonEquityEquivalentsMember2023-03-310001321741Ginsey Home Solutions, Inc. – Common Stock2023-03-310001321741gain:MachineryNonAgricultureNonConstructionAndNonElectronicMemberus-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:CommonEquityEquivalentsMember2023-03-310001321741SFEG Holdings, Inc. – Common Stock2023-03-310001321741us-gaap:InvestmentUnaffiliatedIssuerMembergain:PersonalAndNonDurableConsumerProductsManufacturingOnlyMembergain:CommonEquityEquivalentsMember2023-03-310001321741Funko Acquisition Holdings, LLC – Common Units2023-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMember2023-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMembergain:DiversifiedConglomerateManufacturingMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMember2023-03-310001321741Edge Adhesives Holdings, Inc.– Term Debt2023-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMembergain:DiversifiedConglomerateServicesMember2023-03-310001321741ImageWorks Display and Marketing Group, Inc. – Term Debt2023-03-310001321741J.R. Hobbs Co. - Atlanta, LLC – Line of Credit2023-03-310001321741J.R. Hobbs Co. - Atlanta, LLC - Term Debt 12023-03-310001321741J.R. Hobbs Co. - Atlanta, LLC – Term Debt 22023-03-310001321741J.R. Hobbs Co. - Atlanta, LLC – Term Debt 32023-03-310001321741The Maids International, LLC – Term Debt 2023-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMembergain:HomeAndOfficeFurnishingsHousewaresAndDurableConsumerProductsMember2023-03-310001321741Old World Christmas, Inc. – Term Debt2023-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMembergain:MiningSteelIronAndNonPreciousMetalsTotalMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMember2023-03-310001321741Utah Pacific Bridge & Steel, Ltd. - Term Debt2023-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredFirstLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMembergain:TelecommunicationsMember2023-03-310001321741B+T Group Acquisition, Inc. – Line of Credit2023-03-310001321741B+T Group Acquisition, Inc. – Term Debt2023-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredSecondLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMember2023-03-310001321741gain:DebtSecuritiesSecuredSecondLienDebtMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMembergain:ChemicalsPlasticsAndRubberMember2023-03-310001321741PSI Molded Plastics, Inc. – Term Debt2023-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMember2023-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMembergain:ChemicalsPlasticsAndRubberMember2023-03-310001321741PSI Molded Plastics, Inc. – Preferred Stock2023-03-310001321741gain:DiversifiedConglomerateManufacturingMembergain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMember2023-03-310001321741Edge Adhesives Holdings, Inc. – Preferred Stock2023-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMembergain:DiversifiedConglomerateServicesMember2023-03-310001321741ImageWorks Display and Marketing Group, Inc. – Preferred Stock2023-03-310001321741J.R. Hobbs Co. – Atlanta, LLC – Preferred Stock2023-03-310001321741The Maids International, LLC – Preferred Stock2023-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMembergain:HomeAndOfficeFurnishingsHousewaresAndDurableConsumerProductsMember2023-03-310001321741Old World Christmas, Inc. – Preferred Stock2023-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMembergain:MiningSteelIronAndNonPreciousMetalsTotalMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMember2023-03-310001321741Utah Pacific Bridge & Steel, Ltd. - Preferred Stock2023-03-310001321741gain:PreferredEquityMemberus-gaap:InvestmentAffiliatedIssuerNoncontrolledMembergain:TelecommunicationsMember2023-03-310001321741B+T Group Acquisition, Inc.– Preferred 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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
_________________________
FORM 10-K
(Mark One)
xANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2024
OR
oTRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from                to
Commission file number 814-00704
_________________________
GLADSTONE INVESTMENT CORPORATION
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware83-0423116
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
1521 WESTBRANCH DRIVE, SUITE 100
22102
MCLEAN, VA
(Zip Code)
(Address of principal executive offices)
(703287-5800
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of Each ClassTrading Symbol(s)Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Common Stock, $0.001 par value per shareGAINThe Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
5.00% Notes due 2026GAINNThe Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
4.875% Notes due 2028GAINZThe Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
8.00% Notes due 2028
GAINL
The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
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 o  No x
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 x
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 x  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 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes x  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
o
Accelerated filer
o
Non-accelerated filer
x
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 for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
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.

If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b).

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). YES   NO 
The aggregate market value of the voting stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant on September 30, 2023, based on the closing price on that date of $12.74 on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, was $420,365,931. For the purposes of calculating this amount only, all directors and executive officers of the Registrant have been treated as affiliates. There were 36,688,667 shares of the Registrant’s Common Stock, $0.001 par value, outstanding as of May 7, 2024.
Documents Incorporated by Reference. Portions of the Registrant’s definitive proxy statement relating to the Registrant’s 2024 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K as indicated herein. Such proxy statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission no later than 120 days following the end of the Registrant’s fiscal year ended March 31, 2024.


GLADSTONE INVESTMENT CORPORATION
FORM 10-K FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED
MARCH 31, 2024
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ITEM 9CDisclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections
1

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
All statements contained herein, other than historical facts, may constitute “forward-looking statements.” These statements may relate to, among other things, our future operating results, our business prospects and the prospects of our portfolio companies, actual and potential conflicts of interest with Gladstone Management Corporation (the “Adviser”), our investment adviser, and its affiliates, the use of borrowed money to finance our investments, the adequacy of our financing sources and working capital, and our ability to co-invest. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as “estimate,” “may,” “might,” “believe,” “will,” “provided,” “anticipate,” “future,” “could,” “growth,” “plan,” “project,” “intend,” “expect,” “should,” “would,” “if,” “seek,” “possible,” “potential,” “likely” or the negative or variations of such terms or comparable terminology. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include: (1) changes in the economy and the capital markets, including stock price volatility, inflation, elevated interest rates and risks of recession; (2) risks associated with negotiation and consummation of pending and future transactions; (3) the loss of one or more of our executive officers, in particular David Gladstone, David Dullum, or Terry Lee Brubaker; (4) changes in our investment objectives and strategy; (5) availability, terms (including the possibility of interest rate volatility) and deployment of capital; (6) changes in our industry, interest rates, exchange rates, or the general economy, including inflation; (7) our business prospects and the prospects of our portfolio companies; (8) the degree and nature of our competition; (9) changes in governmental regulation, tax rates and similar matters; (10) our ability to exit investments in a timely manner; (11) our ability to maintain our qualification as a regulated investment company (“RIC”) and as a business development company (“BDC”); and (12) those factors described in Item 1A. “Risk Factors” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K (this “Annual Report”). We caution readers not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in our forward-looking statements and future results could differ materially from our historical performance. Except as required by the federal securities laws, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Although we undertake no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, you are advised to consult any additional disclosures that we may make directly to you or through reports that we have filed, or in the future may file, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), including subsequent annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K. The forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are excluded from the safe harbor protection provided by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act").
In this Annual Report, the terms the “Company,” “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to Gladstone Investment Corporation and its wholly-owned subsidiaries unless the context otherwise indicates. Dollar amounts, except per share amounts, are in thousands unless otherwise indicated.
2

PART I
The information contained in this section should be read in conjunction with our accompanying Consolidated Financial Statements and the notes thereto appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report.
ITEM 1.    BUSINESS
Overview
Organization
We were incorporated under the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware on February 18, 2005. On June 22, 2005, we completed our initial public offering and commenced operations. We operate as an externally managed, closed-end, non-diversified management investment company and have elected to be treated as a BDC under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). For U.S. federal income tax purposes, we have elected to be treated as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). To continue to qualify as a RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes and obtain favorable RIC tax treatment, we must meet certain requirements, including certain minimum distribution requirements.
As of March 31, 2024, shares of our common stock, our 5.00% Notes due 2026 (“5.00% 2026 Notes”), our 4.875% Notes due 2028 (“4.875% 2028 Notes”) and our 8.00% Notes due 2028 ("8.00% 2028 Notes") are traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market (“Nasdaq”) under the trading symbols “GAIN,” “GAINN,” “GAINZ,” and "GAINL," respectively.
Investment Adviser and Administrator
We are externally managed by the Adviser, an affiliate of ours and an SEC-registered investment adviser, pursuant to an investment advisory and management agreement, as amended from time to time, (the “Advisory Agreement”). We have also entered into an administration agreement (the “Administration Agreement”) with Gladstone Administration, LLC (the “Administrator”), an affiliate of ours and the Adviser. Each of the Adviser and the Administrator are privately-held companies that are indirectly owned and controlled by David Gladstone, our chairman and chief executive officer. David Dullum, our president, also serves as the executive vice president of private equity (buyouts) of the Adviser. Michael LiCalsi, our general counsel and secretary, also serves as the Administrator’s president, general counsel, and secretary, as well as the executive vice president of administration of the Adviser. Mr. Gladstone and Terry Lee Brubaker, our chief operating officer, also serve on the board of directors of the Adviser, the board of managers of the Administrator, and as executive officers of the Adviser and the Administrator. The Administrator employs, among others, our chief financial officer and treasurer, chief valuation officer, chief compliance officer, general counsel and secretary (who also serves as the president of the Administrator) and their respective staffs. The Adviser and Administrator have extensive experience in our lines of business and also provide investment advisory and administrative services, respectively, to our affiliates, including: Gladstone Commercial Corporation (“Gladstone Commercial”), a publicly-traded real estate investment trust; Gladstone Capital Corporation (“Gladstone Capital”), a publicly-traded BDC and RIC; and Gladstone Land Corporation, a publicly-traded real estate investment trust (“Gladstone Land”) (together with “Gladstone Commercial” and “Gladstone Capital,” collectively the “Affiliated Public Funds”). In the future, the Adviser and Administrator may provide investment advisory and administrative services, respectively, to other funds and companies, both public and private.
The Adviser was organized as a corporation under the laws of the State of Delaware on July 2, 2002, and is a SEC-registered investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. The Administrator was organized as a limited liability company under the laws of the State of Delaware on March 18, 2005. The Adviser and Administrator are headquartered in McLean, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C. The Adviser also has offices in several other states.
Investment Objectives and Strategy
We were established for the purpose of investing in debt and equity securities of established private businesses operating in the U.S. Our investment objectives are to: (i) achieve and grow current income by investing in debt securities of established businesses that we believe will provide stable earnings and cash flow to pay expenses, make principal and interest payments on our outstanding indebtedness and make distributions to stockholders that grow over time; and (ii) provide our stockholders with long-term capital appreciation in the value of our assets by investing in equity securities of established businesses, generally in combination with the aforementioned debt securities, that we believe can grow over time to permit us to sell our equity investments for capital gains. To achieve our investment objectives, our investment strategy is to invest
3

in several categories of debt and equity securities, with individual investments in a particular portfolio company generally totaling up to $75 million, although investment size may vary, depending upon our total assets or available capital at the time of investment. We expect that our investment portfolio over time will consist of approximately 75% in debt securities and 25% in equity securities, at cost. As of March 31, 2024, our investment portfolio was comprised of 77.0% in debt securities and 23.0% in equity securities, at cost.
We focus on investing in lower middle market private businesses (which we generally define as private companies with annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”) of $4 million to $15 million) (“Lower Middle Market”) in the U.S. that meet certain criteria, including: the sustainability of the business’ free cash flow and its ability to grow it over time, adequate assets for loan collateral, experienced management teams with a significant ownership interest in the portfolio company, reasonable capitalization of the portfolio company, including an ample equity contribution or cushion based on prevailing enterprise valuation multiples, and the potential to realize appreciation and gain liquidity in our equity position, if any. We anticipate that liquidity in our equity position will be achieved through a merger, acquisition, or recapitalization of the portfolio company, a public offering of the portfolio company’s stock or, to a lesser extent, by exercising our right to require the portfolio company to repurchase our warrants, as applicable, though there can be no assurance that we will always have these rights. We invest in portfolio companies that seek funds for management buyouts and/or growth capital to finance acquisitions, recapitalize or, to a lesser extent, refinance their existing debt facilities. We seek to avoid investing in high-risk, early-stage enterprises.
We invest by ourselves or jointly with other funds and/or management of the portfolio company, depending on the opportunity. In July 2012, the SEC granted us an exemptive order (the “Co-Investment Order”) that expanded our ability to co-invest, under certain circumstances, with certain of our affiliates, including Gladstone Capital and any future BDC or registered closed-end management investment company that is advised (or sub-advised if it controls the fund) by the Adviser, or any combination of the foregoing, subject to the conditions in the Co-Investment Order. We believe the Co-Investment Order has enhanced and will continue to enhance our ability to further our investment objectives and strategies. If we are participating in an investment with one or more co-investors, whether or not an affiliate of ours, our investment is likely to be smaller than if we were investing alone.
In general, our investments in debt securities have a term of five years, accrue interest at variable rates based on the 30 day Secured Overnight Financing Rate ("SOFR") and, to a lesser extent, at fixed rates. As of March 31, 2024, our loan portfolio consisted of 100.0% variable rate loans with floors, based on the total principal balance of all outstanding debt investments.
We seek debt instruments that pay interest monthly or, at a minimum, quarterly, and which may include a yield enhancement such as a success fee or, to a lesser extent, deferred interest provision and are primarily interest only, with all principal and any accrued but unpaid interest due at maturity. Generally, success fees accrue at a set rate and are contractually due upon a change of control of the portfolio company. Some debt securities may have deferred interest whereby some portion of the interest payment is added to the principal balance so that the interest is paid, together with the principal, at maturity. This form of deferred interest is often called “paid-in-kind” (“PIK”) interest. As of March 31, 2024, we did not have any securities with a PIK feature.
Typically, our investments in equity securities take the form of common stock, preferred stock, limited liability company interests, warrants or options to purchase any of the foregoing. Often, these equity investments occur in connection with our original investment, buyouts and recapitalizations of a business, or refinancing existing debt. From our initial public offering in 2005 through March 31, 2024, we invested in 58 companies, excluding investments in syndicated loans.
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We expect that our investment portfolio will continue to primarily include the following three categories of investments in private companies in the U.S.:
Secured First Lien Debt Securities: We seek to invest a portion of our assets in secured first lien debt securities also known as senior loans, senior term loans, lines of credit and senior notes. Using its assets as collateral, the borrower typically uses secured first lien debt to cover a substantial portion of the funding needs of the business. These debt securities usually take the form of first priority liens on all, or substantially all, of the assets of the business.
Secured Second Lien Debt Securities: We seek to invest a portion of our assets in secured second lien debt securities, which may also be referred to as subordinated loans, subordinated notes and mezzanine loans. These secured second lien debt securities rank junior to the borrower’s secured first lien debt securities and may be secured by second priority liens on all or a portion of the assets of the business. Additionally, we may receive other yield enhancements in addition to or in lieu of success fees, such as warrants to buy common and preferred stock or limited liability interests, in connection with these secured second lien debt securities.
Preferred and Common Equity/Equivalents: We seek to invest a portion of our assets in equity securities, which consist of preferred and common equity, limited liability company interests, warrants or options to acquire such securities, and are generally in combination with our debt investment in a business. Additionally, we may receive equity investments derived from restructurings on some of our existing debt investments. In many cases, we will own a significant portion of the equity of the businesses in which we invest.
We expect that most, if not all, of the debt securities we acquire will not be rated by a rating agency. Investors should assume that these loans would be rated below what is considered “investment grade” quality. Investments rated below investment grade are often referred to as high yield securities or junk bonds and may be considered higher risk as compared to investment grade debt instruments.
Investment Policies
We seek to achieve a high level of current income and capital gains through investments in secured debt securities and preferred and common stock that we generally acquire in connection with buyouts and other recapitalizations. The following investment policies, along with the investment objectives, may not be changed without the approval of our board of directors (our “Board of Directors”), a majority of whom are not “interested persons” as defined in Section 2(a)(19) of the 1940 Act:
We will at all times conduct our business so as to retain our status as a BDC. See “—Regulation as a BDC — Qualifying Assets.
We will at all times endeavor to conduct our business so as to retain our status as a RIC under the Code. See "—Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations."
With the exception of our policy to conduct our business as a BDC, these investment policies are not fundamental and may be changed without stockholder approval.
Investment Concentrations
As of March 31, 2024, our investment portfolio consisted of investments in 24 portfolio companies located in 18 states across 16 different industries with an aggregate fair value of $920.5 million. Our investments in SFEG Holdings, Inc. ("SFEG"), Nocturne Luxury Villas, Inc. ("Nocturne"), Nth Degree Investment Group, LLC ("Nth Degree"), Old World Christmas, Inc. (“Old World”), and Brunswick Bowling Products, Inc. ("Brunswick") represented our five largest portfolio investments at fair value and collectively comprised $393.5 million, or 42.7%, of our total investment portfolio at fair value as of March 31, 2024.
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The following table summarizes our investments by security type as of March 31, 2024 and 2023:
March 31, 2024March 31, 2023
CostFair ValueCostFair Value
Secured first lien debt$513,425 60.1 %$474,856 51.6 %$471,439 65.4 %$437,517 58.1 %
Secured second lien debt144,958 16.9 %138,703 15.0 %84,158 11.7 %75,734 10.1 %
Total debt658,383 77.0 %613,559 66.6 %555,597 77.1 %513,251 68.2 %
Preferred equity145,070 17.0 %213,480 23.2 %149,099 20.7 %222,585 29.5 %
Common equity/equivalents50,837 6.0 %93,465 10.2 %15,934 2.2 %17,707 2.3 %
Total equity/equivalents195,907 23.0 %306,945 33.4 %165,033 22.9 %240,292 31.8 %
Total investments
$854,290 100.0 %$920,504 100.0 %$720,630 100.0 %$753,543 100.0 %
Our investments at fair value consisted of the following industry classifications as of March 31, 2024 and 2023:

March 31, 2024
March 31, 2023
Fair Value
Percentage of
Total Investments
Fair ValuePercentage of
Total Investments
Diversified/Conglomerate Services$264,535 28.7 %$268,954 35.7 %
Home and Office Furnishings, Housewares, and Durable Consumer Products160,038 17.3 %143,685 19.1 %
Machinery (Non-Agriculture, Non-Construction, and Non-Electronic)92,781 10.1 %20,088 2.7 %
Hotels, Motels, Inns, and Gaming77,366 8.4 %58,713 7.8 %
Buildings and Real Estate60,431 6.6 %60,571 8.0 %
Oil and Gas51,171 5.6 %  %
Healthcare, Education, and Childcare49,638 5.4 %37,445 5.0 %
Leisure, Amusement, Motion Pictures, and Entertainment39,350 4.3 %47,616 6.3 %
Mining, Steel, Iron and Non-Precious Metals30,537 3.3 %25,998 3.5 %
Aerospace and Defense29,064 3.2 %22,215 2.8 %
Chemicals, Plastics, and Rubber20,363 2.2 %24,891 3.3 %
Printing and Publishing14,238 1.5 %  %
Cargo Transport13,500 1.5 %14,707 2.0 %
Telecommunications9,002 1.0 %18,987 2.5 %
Other < 2.0%8,490 0.9 %9,673 1.3 %
Total investments
$920,504 100.0 %$753,543 100.0 %
Our investments at fair value were included in the following U.S. geographic regions as of March 31, 2024 and 2023:


March 31, 2024March 31, 2023
Location
Fair ValuePercentage of
Total Investments
Fair ValuePercentage of
Total Investments
South$346,838 37.7 %$171,056 22.7 %
West223,871 24.3 %197,989 26.3 %
Northeast207,870 22.6 %266,612 35.4 %
Midwest141,925 15.4 %117,886 15.6 %
Total investments
$920,504 100.0 %$753,543 100.0 %
The geographic region indicates the location of the headquarters for our portfolio companies. A portfolio company may have additional business locations in other geographic regions.
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Investment Process
Overview of Investment and Approval Process
To originate investments, the Adviser’s investment professionals use an extensive referral network comprised primarily of private equity sponsors, venture capitalists, leveraged buyout funds, investment bankers, attorneys, accountants, commercial bankers and business brokers. The Adviser’s investment professionals review information received from these and other sources in search of potential financing opportunities. If a potential opportunity matches our investment objectives, the investment professionals will seek an initial screening of the opportunity with our president, David Dullum, to authorize the submission of an indication of interest (“IOI”) to the prospective portfolio company. If the prospective portfolio company passes this initial screening and the IOI is accepted by the prospective company, the investment professionals will seek approval to issue a letter of intent (“LOI”) from the Adviser’s investment committee, which currently is composed of Messrs. Gladstone, Brubaker, and Dullum, as well as Jonathan Sateri and Laura Gladstone. If this LOI is issued, then the Adviser and Gladstone Securities, LLC (“Gladstone Securities”) (collectively, the “Due Diligence Team”) will conduct a due diligence investigation and create a detailed profile summarizing the prospective portfolio company’s historical financial statements, industry, competitive position and management team and analyzing its conformity to our general investment criteria. The investment professionals then present this profile to the Adviser’s investment committee, which must approve each investment.
Prospective Portfolio Company Characteristics
We have identified certain characteristics that we believe are important in identifying and investing in prospective portfolio companies. The criteria listed below provide general guidelines for our investment decisions, although not all of these criteria may be met by each portfolio company.
Experienced Management: We typically require that the companies in which we invest have experienced management teams or a hiring plan in place to install an experienced management team. We also require the companies to have in place proper incentives to induce management to succeed and act in concert with our interests as an investor, including having significant equity or other interests in the financial performance of their companies.
Value- and Income-Orientation and Positive Cash Flow: Our investment philosophy places a premium on fundamental analysis from an investor’s perspective and has a distinct value- and income-orientation. In seeking value, we focus on established companies in which we can invest at relatively low multiples of EBITDA, and that have positive operating cash flow at the time of investment. In seeking income, we typically invest in companies that generate relatively stable to growing sales, cash flows, and EBITDA to fixed charges coverage, which provides some assurance that the companies will be able to service their debt. We do not expect to invest in start-up companies or companies with what we believe to be speculative business plans.
Strong Competitive Position in an Industry: We seek to invest in companies that have developed strong market positions and significant relative market share within their respective markets and that we believe are well-positioned to capitalize on growth opportunities. We seek companies that demonstrate significant competitive advantages versus their competitors, which we believe will help to protect their market positions and profitability.
Enterprise Collateral Value: The projected enterprise valuation of the business,, based on market based comparable cash flow multiples, is an important factor in our investment analysis in determining the collateral coverage of our debt securities.
Extensive Due Diligence
The Due Diligence Team conducts what we believe are extensive due diligence investigations of our prospective portfolio companies and investment opportunities. The due diligence investigation typically begins with a review of publicly available information followed by in-depth business analysis, including some or all of the following:
review of the prospective portfolio company’s historical and projected financial information, including a quality of earnings analysis;
visits to the prospective portfolio company’s business site(s) and evaluation of potential environmental issues;
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interviews with the prospective portfolio company’s management, employees, customers and vendors;
review of loan documents and material contracts;
background checks and a management capabilities assessment on the prospective portfolio company’s management team; and
research, including market analyses, on the prospective portfolio company’s products, services or particular industry and its competitive position therein.
Upon completion of a due diligence investigation and a decision to proceed with an investment, the Adviser’s investment professionals who have primary responsibility for the investment present the investment opportunity to the Adviser’s investment committee. The investment committee then determines whether to pursue the potential investment. Prior to the closing of an investment, additional due diligence may be conducted on our behalf by attorneys, independent accountants, and other outside advisers, as appropriate.
We also rely on the long-term relationships that the Adviser’s investment professionals have with leveraged buyout funds, investment bankers, commercial bankers, private equity sponsors, attorneys, accountants, and business brokers. In addition, the extensive direct experiences of our executive officers and managing directors in the operations of Lower Middle Market companies and providing debt and equity capital to Lower Middle Market companies plays a significant role in our investment evaluation and assessment of risk.
Investment Structure
Once the Adviser has determined that an investment meets our standards and investment criteria, the Adviser works with the management of that company and other capital providers to structure the transaction in a way that we believe will provide us with the greatest opportunity to maximize our return on the investment, while providing appropriate incentives to management of the company. As discussed above, the capital classes through which we typically structure a deal include first lien secured debt, second lien secured debt, and preferred and common equity or equivalents. Through its risk management process, the Adviser seeks to limit the downside risk of our investments by:
making investments with an expected total return (including interest, yield enhancements and potential equity appreciation) that it believes compensates us for the credit risk of the investment;
seeking collateral or superior positions in the portfolio company’s capital structure where possible;
incorporating put and call protection rights into the investment structure where possible;
negotiating covenants in connection with our investments that afford our portfolio companies as much flexibility as possible in managing their businesses, while also preserving our capital; and
holding board seats or securing board observation rights at the portfolio company.
We expect to hold most of our debt investments until maturity or repayment, but we may sell our investments (including our equity investments) earlier if a liquidity event takes place, such as a recapitalization of a portfolio company, an initial public offering, or a sale to a third party, including strategic buyers, private equity funds, or existing investors in the portfolio company, and which may be privately negotiated transactions.
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Competitive Advantages
A large number of entities compete with us and make the types of investments that we seek to make in Lower Middle Market companies. Such competitors include private equity funds, leveraged buyout funds, other BDCs, investment banks and other equity and non-equity based investment funds, and other financing sources, including traditional financial services companies such as commercial banks. Many of our competitors are substantially larger than we are and have considerably greater funding sources or are able to access capital more cost effectively. In addition, certain 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 a larger portfolio of investments. Furthermore, many of these competitors are not subject to the regulatory restrictions that the 1940 Act imposes on us as a BDC. However, we believe that we have the following competitive advantages over many other providers of financing to Lower Middle Market companies.
Management Expertise
Our Adviser has a separate investment committee for the Company and each of the Affiliated Public Funds. The Adviser's investment committee for the Company is comprised of Messrs. Gladstone, Brubaker, Dullum and Sateri and Ms. Gladstone, each of whom have a wealth of experience in our area of operation. Ms. Gladstone and Messrs. Gladstone, Brubaker, and Sateri also serve on the Adviser’s investment committee for the other Affiliated Public Funds. Ms. Gladstone has over 20 years of experience in investing in middle market companies and is a managing director of the Adviser. Each of Messrs. Gladstone, Dullum and Sateri (also a managing director of the Adviser) have over 30 years of experience in investing in middle market companies and with operating in the BDC marketplace in general. Messrs. Gladstone and Brubaker also have principal management responsibility for the Adviser as its executive officers, and have worked together at the Gladstone Companies for more than 20 years. Mr. Brubaker has over 30 years of experience in acquisitions and operations of companies. These five individuals dedicate a significant portion of their time to managing our investment portfolio. Our senior management has extensive experience providing capital to Lower Middle Market companies. In addition, we have access to the resources and expertise of the Adviser’s investment professionals and support staff who possess a broad range of transactional, financial, managerial, and investment skills.
Increased Access to Investment Opportunities Developed Through Extensive Research Capability and Network of Contacts
The Adviser seeks to identify potential investments through active origination and due diligence and through its dialogue with numerous management teams, members of the financial community and potential corporate partners with whom the Adviser’s investment professionals have long-term relationships. We believe that the Adviser’s investment professionals have developed a broad network of contacts within the investment, commercial banking, private equity and investment management communities, and that their reputation, experience, and focus on investing in Lower Middle Market companies enables us to source and identify well-positioned prospective portfolio companies, which provide attractive investment opportunities. Additionally, the Adviser expects to generate information from its professionals’ network of accountants, consultants, lawyers and management teams of portfolio companies and other contacts to support the Adviser’s investment activities.
Disciplined, Value- and Income-Oriented Investment Philosophy with a Focus on Preservation of Capital
In making its investment decisions, the Adviser focuses on the risk and reward profile of each prospective portfolio company, seeking to minimize the risk of capital loss without foregoing the potential for capital appreciation. We expect the Adviser to use the same investment philosophy that its professionals use in the management of the other Affiliated Public Funds and to commit resources to manage downside exposure. The Adviser’s approach seeks to reduce our risk in investments by using some or all of the following approaches:
focusing on companies with attractive and sustainable market positions and cash flow;
investing in companies with experienced and established management teams;
engaging in extensive due diligence from the perspective of a long-term investor;
investing at low price-to-cash flow multiples; and
adopting flexible transaction structures by drawing on the experience of the investment professionals of the Adviser and its affiliates.
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Longer Investment Horizon
Unlike private equity and other funds that are typically organized as finite-life partnerships (generally seven to ten years), we are not subject to standard periodic capital return requirements. These structures often force private equity and other funds to seek returns on their investments by causing their portfolio companies to pursue mergers, public equity offerings, or other liquidity events more quickly than might otherwise be optimal or desirable, potentially resulting in a lower overall return to investors and/or an adverse impact on their portfolio companies. In contrast, we are an exchange-traded corporation of perpetual duration. We believe that our flexibility to make investments with a long-term view and without the capital return requirements of traditional private investment vehicles provides us with the opportunity to achieve greater long-term returns on invested capital.
Flexible Transaction Structuring
We believe the Adviser’s and our management team’s broad expertise and years of combined experience enable the Adviser to identify, assess, and structure investments successfully across all levels of a company’s capital structure and manage potential risk and return at all stages of the economic cycle. We are not subject to many of the regulatory limitations that govern traditional lending institutions, such as banks. As a result, we are flexible in selecting and structuring investments, adjusting investment criteria and transaction structures and, in some cases, the types of securities in which we invest, thereby affording us a competitive advantage of providing both, equity and debt financing, which may limit uncertainty related to the close of the transaction and the risk of refinancing during periods of market yield compression. We believe that this approach enables the Adviser to craft a financing structure which best fits the investment and growth profile of the underlying business and yields attractive investment opportunities that will continue to generate current income and capital gain potential throughout the economic cycle, including during turbulent periods in the capital markets.
Ongoing Management of Investments and Portfolio Company Relationships
The Adviser’s investment professionals actively oversee each investment by continuously evaluating the portfolio company’s performance and typically working collaboratively with the portfolio company’s management to identify and incorporate best resources and practices that help us achieve our projected investment performance.
Monitoring
The Adviser’s investment professionals monitor the financial performance, trends, and changing risks of each portfolio company on an ongoing basis to determine if each portfolio company is performing within expectations and to guide the portfolio company’s management in taking the appropriate courses of action. The Adviser employs various methods of evaluating and monitoring the performance of our investments in portfolio companies, which can include the following:
monthly analysis of financial and operating performance;
frequent assessment of the portfolio company’s performance against its business plan and our investment expectations;
attendance at and/or participation in the portfolio company’s board of directors or management meetings;
assessment of portfolio company management, governance and strategic direction;
assessment of the portfolio company’s industry and competitive environment; and
review and assessment of the portfolio company’s operating outlook and financial projections.
Relationship Management
The Adviser’s investment professionals interact with various parties involved with a portfolio company, or investment, by actively engaging with internal and external constituents, including:
management;
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boards of directors;
financial sponsors;
capital partners;
auditors; and
advisers and consultants.
Managerial Assistance and Services
As a BDC, we make available significant managerial assistance, as defined in the 1940 Act, to our portfolio companies and provide other services (other than such managerial assistance) to such portfolio companies. Neither we, nor the Adviser, currently receive fees in connection with the managerial assistance we make available. At times, the Adviser may also provide other services to our portfolio companies under certain agreements and may receive fees for services other than managerial assistance. Such services may include: (i) assistance obtaining, sourcing or structuring credit facilities, long term loans or additional equity from unaffiliated third parties; (ii) negotiating important contractual financial relationships; (iii) consulting services regarding restructuring of the portfolio company and financial modeling as it relates to raising additional debt and equity capital from unaffiliated third parties; and (iv) a primary role in interviewing, vetting and negotiating employment contracts with candidates in connection with adding and retaining key portfolio company management team members. The Adviser non-contractually, unconditionally, and irrevocably credits 100% of any fees received for such services against the base management fee that we would otherwise be required to pay to the Adviser, as discussed below in “—Transactions with Related Parties – Investment Advisory and Management Agreement – Base Management Fee;” however, pursuant to the terms of the Advisory Agreement, a small percentage of certain of such fees is retained by the Adviser in the form of reimbursement, at cost, for tasks completed by personnel of the Adviser, primarily related to the valuation of portfolio companies.
Gladstone Securities also provides other services (such as investment banking and due diligence services) to certain of our portfolio companies and receives fees for the provision of such services, see “—Transactions with Related Parties – Other Transactions” below.
Valuation Process
Our Board of Directors has approved investment valuation policies and procedures pursuant to Rule 2a-5 (the “Policy”) and, in July 2022, designated the Adviser to serve as the Board of Directors’ valuation designee (“Valuation Designee”) under the 1940 Act.
The following is a general description of the Policy that the professionals of the Adviser and Administrator, with oversight and direction from our chief valuation officer, an employee of the Administrator that reports directly to our Board of Directors (collectively, the “Valuation Team”), use each quarter to determine the fair value of our investment portfolio. In accordance with the 1940 Act, our Board of Directors has the ultimate responsibility for reviewing the good faith fair value determination of our investments for which market quotations are not readily available based on our Policy and for overseeing the Valuation Designee. The Adviser values our investments in accordance with the requirements of the 1940 Act and accounting principles generally accepted in the U.S. (“GAAP”). There is no single standard for determining fair value (especially for privately-held businesses), as fair value depends upon the specific facts and circumstances of each individual investment. Each quarter, our Board of Directors reviews the Policy to determine if changes thereto are advisable and whether the Valuation Team has applied the Policy consistently. With respect to the valuation of our investment portfolio, the Valuation Team performs the following steps each quarter:
Each investment is initially assessed by the Valuation Team using the Policy, which may include:
obtaining fair value quotes or utilizing valuation inputs from third party valuation firms; and
using techniques, such as total enterprise value, yield analysis, market quotes and other factors, including but not limited to: the nature and realizable value of the collateral, including external parties’ guaranties; any relevant offers or letters of intent to acquire the portfolio company; and the markets in which the portfolio company operates.
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Preliminary valuation conclusions are then discussed amongst the Valuation Team and with our management and documented for review by our Board of Directors. Fair value determinations and supporting material are sent to the Board of Directors in advance of its quarterly meetings.
The Valuation Committee of the Board of Directors (comprised entirely of independent directors) meets to review the valuation determinations and supporting materials, discusses the information provided by the Valuation Team, determines whether the Valuation Team has followed the Policy and reviews other facts and circumstances, including current valuation risks, conflicts of interest, material valuation matters, appropriateness of valuation methodologies, back-testing results, price challenges/overides, and ongoing monitoring and oversight of pricing services. After the Valuation Committee concludes its meeting, it and the chief valuation officer, representing the Valuation Designee, present the Valuation Committee’s findings on the Valuations Designee's determinations to the entire Board of Directors so that the full Board of Directors may review the Valuation Designee's determined fair values of such investments in accordance with the Policy.
Fair value measurements of our investments may involve subjective judgment and estimates. Due to the uncertainty inherent in valuing these securities, the determinations of fair value may fluctuate from period to period and may differ materially from the values that could be obtained if a ready market for these securities existed. Our net asset value (“NAV”) could be materially affected if the determinations regarding the fair value of our investments are materially different from the values that we ultimately realize upon our disposal of such securities. Our valuation policies, procedures and processes are more fully described in Note 2 — Summary of Significant Accounting Policies in our accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report.
Transactions with Related Parties
Investment Advisory and Management Agreement
Pursuant to our Advisory Agreement, we pay the Adviser certain fees as compensation for its services, consisting of a base management fee and an incentive fee, each as described below. On July 11, 2023, our Board of Directors, including a majority of the directors who are not parties to the Advisory Agreement or interested persons of either party, unanimously approved the renewal of the Advisory Agreement through August 31, 2024. Our Board of Directors considered the following factors as the basis for its decision to renew the Advisory Agreement: (1) the nature, extent and quality of services provided by the Adviser to our stockholders, (2) the investment performance of the Company and the Adviser, (3) the costs of the services to be provided and profits to be realized by the Adviser and its affiliates from the relationship with the Company, (4) the extent to which economies of scale will be realized as the Company and the Affiliated Public Funds grow and whether the fee level under the Advisory Agreement reflects the economies of scale for the Company’s investors, (5) the fee structure of the advisory and administrative agreements of comparable funds, (6) indirect profits to the Adviser created through the Company and (7) in light of the foregoing considerations, the overall fairness of the advisory fees paid under the Advisory Agreement.
On January 4, 2024, we approved a new investment advisory agreement between us and the Adviser (the "New Advisory Agreement"). The New Advisory Agreement is the result of an anticipated change in control of the Adviser. From inception, the Adviser has been 100% indirectly owned and controlled by David Gladstone. David Gladstone owns 100% of the voting and economic interests of The Gladstone Companies, Ltd., which in turn owns 100% of the voting and economic interests of The Gladstone Companies, Inc., which in turn owned 100% of the voting and economic interests of the Adviser. Immediately after approval by the stockholders of Gladstone Capital Corporation of a similar advisory agreement, which occurred on January 24, 2024, the Adviser entered into a voting trust agreement (the “Voting Trust Agreement”), among David Gladstone, Lorna Gladstone, Laura Gladstone, Kent Gladstone and Jessica Martin, each as a trustee and collectively, as the board of trustees of the voting trust (the “Voting Trust Board”), the Adviser and certain stockholders of the Adviser, pursuant to which David Gladstone deposited all of his indirect interests in the Adviser, which represented 100% of the voting and economic interests thereof, with the voting trust.
Pursuant to the Voting Trust Agreement, prior to its Effective Date (as defined below) David Gladstone has, in his sole discretion, the full, exclusive and unqualified right and power to vote in person or by proxy all of the shares of common stock of the Adviser deposited with the voting trust at all meetings of the stockholders of the Adviser in respect of any and all matters on which the stockholders of the Adviser are entitled to vote under the Adviser’s certificate of incorporation or applicable law, to give consents in lieu of voting such shares of common stock of the Adviser at a meeting of the stockholders of the Adviser in respect of any and all matters on which stockholders of the Adviser are entitled to vote under its certificate of incorporation or applicable law, to enter into voting agreements, waive notice of any meeting of
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stockholders of the Adviser in respect of such shares of common stock of the Adviser and to grant proxies with respect to all such shares of common stock of the Adviser with respect to any lawful corporate action (collectively, the “Voting Powers”).
Commencing on the Effective Date, the Voting Trust Board shall have the full, exclusive and unqualified right and power to exercise the Voting Powers. Each member of the Voting Trust Board shall hold 20% of the voting power of the Voting Trust Board as of the Effective Date. The “Effective Date” shall occur on the earliest of (i) the death of David Gladstone, (ii) David Gladstone’s election (in his sole discretion) and (iii) one year from the date the Voting Trust Agreement is entered into. Following entry into the Voting Trust Agreement, the current members of senior management of the Adviser will continue to manage the day-to-day aspects of the Adviser.
There are no changes to the terms of the Advisory Agreement currently in effect (the "Original Advisory Agreement") in the New Advisory Agreement, including the fee structure and services to be provided, other than the date and term of the New Advisory Agreement as compared to the Original Advisory Agreement. In addition to there being no changes to the fee structure, no other fees or expenses currently paid by us will change as a result of entry into the New Advisory Agreement. There will be no changes to our principal investment objective, investment strategies, fundamental investment restrictions or principal risks as a result of entry into the Voting Trust Agreement or New Advisory Agreement.
Base Management Fee
The base management fee is payable quarterly to the Adviser pursuant to our Advisory Agreement and is assessed at an annual rate of 2.0%, computed on the basis of the value of our average gross assets at the end of the two most recently completed quarters (inclusive of the current quarter), which are total assets, including investments made with proceeds of borrowings, less any uninvested cash or cash equivalents resulting from borrowings, valued at the end of the applicable quarters within the respective period, and adjusted appropriately for any share issuances or repurchases during the period.
Additionally, as stated above, pursuant to the requirements of the 1940 Act, the Adviser makes available significant managerial assistance to our portfolio companies. The Adviser may also provide other services to our portfolio companies under certain agreements and may receive fees for services other than managerial assistance. Such services may include: (i) assistance obtaining, sourcing or structuring credit facilities, long term loans or additional equity from unaffiliated third parties; (ii) negotiating important contractual financial relationships; (iii) consulting services regarding restructuring of the portfolio company and financial modeling as it relates to raising additional debt and equity capital from unaffiliated third parties; and (iv) a primary role in interviewing, vetting and negotiating employment contracts with candidates in connection with adding and retaining key portfolio company management team members. The Adviser non-contractually, unconditionally, and irrevocably credits 100% of any fees received for such services against the base management fee that we would otherwise be required to pay to the Adviser; however, pursuant to the terms of the Advisory Agreement, a small percentage of certain of such fees is retained by the Adviser in the form of reimbursement, at cost, for tasks completed by personnel of the Adviser, primarily related to the valuation of portfolio companies. Loan servicing fees that are payable to the Adviser pursuant to our Fifth Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, as amended (the “Credit Facility”), are also 100% credited against the base management fee as discussed below “—Loan Servicing Fee Pursuant to Credit Facility.
Incentive Fee
The incentive fee payable to the Adviser under our Advisory Agreement consists of two parts: an income-based incentive fee and a capital gains-based incentive fee.
The income-based incentive fee rewards the Adviser if our quarterly net investment income (before giving effect to any incentive fee) exceeds 1.75% of our net assets, which we define as total assets less indebtedness and before taking into account any incentive fees payable or contractually due but not payable during the period, at the end of the immediately preceding calendar quarter, adjusted appropriately for any share issuances or repurchases during the period (the “Hurdle Rate”). The income-based incentive fee with respect to our pre-incentive fee net investment income is payable quarterly to the Adviser and is computed as follows:
No incentive fee in any calendar quarter in which our pre-incentive fee net investment income does not exceed the Hurdle Rate;
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100.0% 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% of our net assets, adjusted appropriately for any share issuances or repurchases during the period, in any calendar quarter; and
20.0% of the amount of our pre-incentive fee net investment income, if any, that exceeds 2.1875% of our net assets, adjusted appropriately for any share issuances or repurchases during the period, in any calendar quarter.
Quarterly Incentive Fee Based on Net Investment Income
Pre-incentive fee net investment income
(expressed as a percentage of the value of net assets)
Image_3.jpg
Percentage of pre-incentive fee net investment income
allocated to income-related portion of incentive fee
The second part of the incentive fee is a capital gains-based incentive fee that is determined and payable in arrears as of the end of each fiscal year (or upon termination of the Advisory Agreement, as of the termination date), and equals 20.0% of our realized capital gains, less any realized capital losses and unrealized depreciation, calculated as of the end of the preceding calendar year. The capital gains-based incentive fee payable to the Adviser is calculated based on (i) cumulative aggregate realized capital gains since our inception, less (ii) cumulative aggregate realized capital losses since our inception, less (iii) the entire portfolio’s aggregate unrealized capital depreciation, if any, as of the date of the calculation. If this number is positive at the applicable calculation date, then the capital gains-based incentive fee for such year equals 20.0% of such amount, less the aggregate amount of any capital gains-based incentive fees paid in respect of our portfolio in all prior years. For calculation purposes, cumulative aggregate realized capital gains, if any, equals the sum of the excess between the net sales price of each investment, when sold, and the original cost of such investment since our inception. Cumulative aggregate realized capital losses equals the sum of the deficit between the net sales price of each investment, when sold, and the original cost of such investment since our inception. The entire portfolio’s aggregate unrealized capital depreciation, if any, equals the sum of the deficit between the fair value of each investment security as of the applicable calculation date and the original cost of such investment security. As of and for the years ended March 31, 2024 and 2022, capital gains-based incentive fees of $1.1 million and $5.3 million, respectively, were contractually due and paid to the Adviser. For the year ended March 31, 2023, no capital gains-based incentive fees were contractually due and paid to the Adviser.
In accordance with GAAP, accrual of the capital gains-based incentive fee is determined as if our investments had been liquidated at their fair values as of the end of the reporting period. Therefore, GAAP requires that the capital gains-based incentive fee accrual consider the aggregate unrealized capital appreciation in the calculation, as a capital gains-based incentive fee would be payable if such unrealized capital appreciation were realized. There can be no assurance that any such unrealized capital appreciation will be realized in the future. Accordingly, a GAAP accrual is calculated at the end of the reporting period based on (i) cumulative aggregate realized capital gains since our inception, plus (ii) the entire portfolio’s aggregate unrealized capital appreciation, if any, less (iii) cumulative aggregate realized capital losses since our inception, less (iv) the entire portfolio’s aggregate unrealized capital depreciation, if any. If such amount is positive at the end of a reporting period, a capital gains-based incentive fee equal to 20.0% of such amount, less the aggregate amount of capital gains-based incentive fees accrued in all prior years, is recorded, regardless of whether such amount is contractually due under the terms of the Advisory Agreement. If such amount is negative, then there is no accrual for such period and prior period accruals are reversed, as appropriate. For the three years ended March 31, 2024, 2023 and 2022, we recorded/(reversed) capital gains-based incentive fees of $12.7 million, $(0.3) million and $18.3 million, respectively.
Loan Servicing Fee Pursuant to Credit Facility
The Adviser also services the loans held by our wholly-owned subsidiary, Gladstone Business Investment, LLC (“Business Investment”) (the borrower under the Credit Facility), in return for which the Adviser receives a 2.0% annual fee based on the monthly aggregate outstanding balance of loans pledged under the Credit Facility. Since Business Investment is a consolidated subsidiary of ours, coupled with the fact that the total base management fee paid to the Adviser pursuant to the Advisory Agreement cannot exceed 2.0% of total assets (less any uninvested cash or cash equivalents resulting from
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borrowings) during any given calendar year, we treat the payment of the loan servicing fee pursuant to the Credit Facility as a pre-payment of the base management fee under the Advisory Agreement. Accordingly, these loan servicing fees are 100% non-contractually, unconditionally, and irrevocably credited back to us by the Adviser.
Administration Agreement
We reimburse the Administrator pursuant to the Administration Agreement for our allocable portion of the Administrator’s expenses incurred while performing services to us, which are primarily rent and salaries and benefits expenses of the Administrator’s employees, including our chief financial officer and treasurer, chief valuation officer, chief compliance officer, general counsel and secretary (who also serves as the Administrator’s president, general counsel, and secretary), and their respective staffs.
Our allocable portion of the Administrator’s expenses is generally derived by multiplying the Administrator’s total expenses by the approximate percentage of time during the current quarter that the Administrator’s employees performed services for us in relation to their time spent performing services for all companies serviced by the Administrator. On July 11, 2023, our Board of Directors, including a majority of the directors who are not parties to the Administration Agreement or interested persons of either party, approved the annual renewal of the Administration Agreement through August 31, 2024.
Other Transactions
Mr. Gladstone also serves on the board of managers of our affiliate Gladstone Securities, a privately-held broker-dealer registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. Gladstone Securities is 100% indirectly owned and controlled by Mr. Gladstone and has provided other services, such as investment banking and due diligence services, to certain of our portfolio companies, for which Gladstone Securities receives a fee. Any such fees paid by portfolio companies to Gladstone Securities do not impact the fees we pay to the Adviser or the non-contractual, unconditional, and irrevocable credits against the base management fee. For additional information, refer to Note 4 Related Party Transactions in the accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations
This is a general summary of certain material U.S. federal income tax considerations applicable to us, to our qualification and taxation as a RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes under Subchapter M of the Code and to the ownership and disposition of our shares. This summary does not purport to be a complete description of all of the tax considerations relating thereto. In particular, we have not described certain considerations that may be relevant to certain types of stockholders subject to special treatment under U.S. federal income tax laws. This summary does not discuss any aspect of state, local or foreign tax laws, or the U.S. estate or gift tax. Stockholders are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding their particular situations and the possible applicability of federal, state, local, non-U.S. or other tax laws, and any proposed tax law changes.
For purposes of this summary, a “U.S. stockholder” is a beneficial owner of stock that is for U.S. federal income tax purposes:
an individual who is a citizen or resident of the United States;
a corporation, or other entity treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, created or organized in or under the laws of the United States or any state thereof of the District of Columbia;
a trust, if a court within the United States is able to exercise primary supervision over its administration and one or more U.S. persons (as defined in the Code) have the authority to control all of its substantial decisions, or if the trust has a valid election in effect under applicable U.S. Treasury regulations to be treated as a domestic trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes; or
an estate, the income of which is subject to U.S. federal income taxation regardless of its source.
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RIC Status
To qualify for treatment as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code, we must generally distribute to our stockholders, for each taxable year, at least 90% of our taxable ordinary income plus the excess of our realized net short-term capital gains over our realized net long-term capital losses (“Investment Company Taxable Income”). We refer to this as the “annual distribution requirement.” We must also meet several additional requirements, including:
Business Development Company status: At all times during the taxable year, we must maintain our status as a BDC.
Income source requirements: At least 90% of our gross income for each taxable year must be from dividends, interest, payments with respect to securities, loans, gains from sales or other dispositions of securities or other income (including certain deemed inclusions) derived with respect to our business of investing in securities, and net income derived from an interest in a qualified publicly-traded partnership.
Asset diversification requirements: As of the close of each quarter of our taxable year: (1) at least 50% of the value of our assets must consist of cash, cash items, U.S. government securities, the securities of other regulated investment companies and other securities to the extent that (a) we do not hold more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of an issuer of such other securities and (b) such other securities of any one issuer do not represent more than 5% of our total assets (the “50% threshold”), and (2) no more than 25% of the value of our total assets may be invested in the securities (other than U.S. government securities or the securities of other regulated investment companies) of (i) one issuer, (ii) two or more issuers that are controlled by us and are engaged in the same or similar or related trades or businesses, and (iii) one or more qualified publicly-traded partnerships.
Our qualification and taxation as a RIC depends upon our ability to satisfy on a continuing basis, through actual, annual operating results, distribution, income and asset, and other requirements imposed under the Code. However, no assurance can be given that we will be able to meet the complex and varied tests required to qualify as a RIC or to avoid corporate level tax. In addition, because the relevant laws may change, compliance with one or more of the RIC requirements may be impossible or impracticable.
Failure to Qualify as a RIC
If we were to fail to meet the income, diversification, or distribution tests described above, we could in some cases cure such failure, including by paying a fund-level tax, paying interest, making additional distributions, or disposing of certain assets. If we were ineligible to or otherwise did not cure such failure, or were otherwise unable to qualify for treatment as a RIC, we would be subject to U.S. federal income tax on all of our taxable income at the regular corporate income tax rate and would be subject to any applicable state and local taxes, even if we distributed all of our Investment Company Taxable Income to our stockholders. We would not be able to deduct distributions to our stockholders, nor would we be required to make such distributions. Distributions would be taxable to our stockholders as ordinary dividend income to the extent of our current or accumulated earnings and profits. Subject to certain limitations under the Code, corporate distributees would be eligible for the dividends received deduction, if applicable. Distributions in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits would be treated first as a return of capital to the extent of the stockholder’s adjusted tax basis, and then as capital gain. If we fail to meet the RIC requirements for more than two consecutive years and then seek to requalify as a RIC, we generally would be subject to corporate-level U.S. federal income tax on any unrealized appreciation with respect to our assets unless we make a special election to pay corporate-level U.S. federal income tax on any such unrealized appreciation during the succeeding five-year period.
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Qualification as a RIC
If we qualify as a RIC and meet the annual distribution requirement, we will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the portion of our Investment Company Taxable Income and net capital gain (realized net long-term capital gain in excess of realized net short-term capital loss) that we timely distribute (or are deemed to distribute) to our stockholders. We would, however, be subject to a 4% nondeductible federal excise tax if we do not distribute, actually or on a deemed basis, an amount at least equal to the sum of (i) 98% of our ordinary income for the calendar year, (ii) 98.2% of our net capital gains for the one-year period ending on October 31 of the calendar year (or November 30 or December 31 of that year if we are permitted to elect and so elect) and (iii) any income realized, but not distributed, in the preceding period (to the extent that income tax was not imposed on such amounts), less certain reductions, as applicable. For the calendar years ended December 31, 2023, 2022 and 2021, we incurred $1.2 million, $1.3 million and $0.7 million, respectively, in excise taxes. As of March 31, 2024, there was no capital loss carryforward.
Taxation of Our U.S. Stockholders
The following summary generally describes certain U.S federal income tax consequences of an investment in our shares beneficially owned by U.S. stockholders. If you are not a U.S. sotckholder this section does not apply to you. Whether an investment is appropriate for a U.S. stockholder will depend upon that person's particular circumstances. An investment by a U.S. stockholder may have adverse tax consequences. U.S. stockholders are urged to consult their tax advisors about the U.S. tax consequences of investing in the fund.

Distributions
For any period during which we qualify as a RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes, distributions to our stockholders attributable to our Investment Company Taxable Income generally will be taxable as ordinary income to our stockholders to the extent of our current or accumulated earnings and profits. Any distributions in excess of our earnings and profits will first be treated as a return of capital to the extent of the stockholder’s adjusted basis in his or her shares of stock and thereafter as capital gain. Distributions of our long-term capital gains, reported by us as such, will be taxable to our stockholders as long-term capital gains regardless of the stockholder’s holding period of the stock and whether the distributions are paid in cash or invested in additional stock. Corporate U.S. stockholders generally are eligible for the 50% dividends received deduction with respect to dividends received from us, but only to the extent such amount is attributable to dividends received by us from taxable domestic corporations.
Any distribution declared by us in October, November or December of any calendar year, payable to our stockholders of record on a specified date in such a month and actually paid during January of the following year, will be treated as if it were paid by us and received by our stockholders on December 31 of the previous year. In addition, we may elect (in accordance with Section 855(a) of the Code) to relate a distribution back to the prior taxable year if we (1) declare such distribution prior to the later of the extended due date for filing our return for that taxable year or the 15th day of the ninth month following the close of the taxable year, (2) make the election in that return, and (3) distribute the amount in the 12-month period following the close of the taxable year but not later than the first regular distribution payment of the same type following the declaration. Any such election will not alter the general rule that a stockholder will be treated as receiving a distribution in the taxable year in which the distribution is made, subject to the October, November, December rule described above. For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2024, Investment Company Taxable Income exceeded distributions declared and paid, and, in accordance with Section 855(a) of the Code, we elected to treat $18.7 million of the first distributions paid to common stockholders in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2025 as having been paid in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2024. In addition, for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2024, net capital gains exceeded distributions declared and paid, and, in accordance with Section 855(a) of the Code, we elected to treat $1.4 million of the first distributions paid to common stockholders in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2025 as having been paid in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2024.
If a common stockholder participates in our “opt in” dividend reinvestment plan, then the common stockholder will have their cash dividends and distributions automatically reinvested in additional shares of our common stock, rather than receiving cash dividends and distributions. Any distributions reinvested under the plan will be taxable to the common stockholder to the same extent, and with the same character, as if the common stockholder had received the distribution in cash. The common stockholder will have an adjusted basis in the additional common shares purchased through the plan equal to the dollar amount that would have been received if the U.S. stockholder had received the dividend or distribution in cash. The additional common shares will have a new holding period commencing on the day following the day on which the shares are credited to the common stockholder’s account. The plan agent purchases shares in the open market in connection with the obligations under the plan.
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We may distribute our net long-term capital gains, if any, in cash or elect to retain some or all of such gains, pay taxes at the U.S. federal corporate-level income tax rate on the amount retained, and designate the retained amount as a “deemed distribution.” If we elect to retain net long-term capital gains and deem them distributed, each U.S. common stockholder will be treated as if they received a distribution of their pro-rata share of the retained net long-term capital gain and the U.S. federal income tax paid. As a result, each U.S. common stockholder will (i) be required to report their pro-rata share of the retained gain on their tax return as long-term capital gain, (ii) receive a refundable tax credit for their pro-rata share of federal income tax paid by us on the retained gain, and (iii) increase the tax basis of their shares of common stock by an amount equal to the deemed distribution less the tax credit. To use the deemed distribution approach, we must provide written notice to our common stockholders prior to the expiration of 60 days after the close of the relevant taxable year. For the years ended March 31, 2024, 2023 and 2022, we did not elect to retain long-term capital gains and to treat them as deemed distributions to common stockholders.
Sale of Our Shares
A U.S. stockholder generally will recognize taxable gain or loss if the U.S. stockholder sells or otherwise disposes of the shares of our common or preferred stock. Any gain arising from such sale or disposition generally will be treated as long-term capital gain or loss if the U.S. stockholder has held the shares for more than one year. Otherwise, it will be classified as short-term capital gain or loss. However, any capital loss arising from the sale or disposition of shares of our stock held for six months or less will be treated as long-term capital loss to the extent of the amount of capital gain dividends received, or undistributed capital gain deemed received, with respect to such shares. All or a portion of any loss realized upon a taxable disposition of shares will be disallowed under the Code’s “wash sale” rule if other substantially identical shares are purchased within 30 days before or after the disposition. In such a case, the basis of the newly purchased shares will be adjusted to reflect the disallowed loss. Under the tax laws in effect as of the date of this filing, individual U.S. stockholders are subject to a maximum federal income tax rate of 20% on their net capital gain (i.e. the excess of realized net long-term capital gain over realized net short-term capital loss for a taxable year) including any long-term capital gain derived from an investment in our shares. Such rate is lower than the maximum rate on ordinary income currently payable by individuals. Corporate U.S. stockholders currently are subject to federal income tax on net capital gain at the same rates applied to their ordinary income. Capital losses are subject to limitations on use for both corporate and non-corporate stockholders. Certain U.S. stockholders who are individuals, estates or trusts generally are also subject to a 3.8% Medicare tax on, among other things, dividends on and capital gain from the sale or other disposition of shares of our stock.
Backup Withholding and Other Required Withholding
We may be required to withhold U.S. federal income tax, or backup withholding, from all taxable distributions to any non-corporate U.S. stockholder (i) who fails to furnish us with a correct taxpayer identification number or a certificate that such stockholder is exempt from backup withholding, or (ii) with respect to whom the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) notifies us that such stockholder has failed to properly report certain interest and dividend income to the IRS and to respond to notices to that effect. An individual’s taxpayer identification number is generally his or her social security number. Any amount withheld under backup withholding is allowed as a credit against the U.S. stockholder’s federal income tax liability, provided that proper information is provided to the IRS.
Sections 1471-1474 of the Code and the U.S. Treasury and IRS guidance issued thereunder or, collectively, FATCA, generally require that we obtain information sufficient to identify the status of each shareholder under FATCA or under an applicable intergovernmental agreement, or IGA, between the United States and a foreign government. If a shareholder fails to provide the requested information or otherwise fails to comply with FATCA or an IGA, we may be required to withhold under FATCA at a rate of 30% with respect to that shareholder on ordinary dividends it pays. The IRS and the Department of Treasury have issued proposed regulations providing that these withholding rules will not apply to the gross proceeds of share redemptions or capital gain dividends we pay. If a payment is subject to FATCA withholding, we are required to withhold even if such payment would otherwise be exempt from withholding under the rules applicable to foreign shareholders described above (e.g., interest-related dividends). In addition, subject to certain exceptions, this legislation also imposes a 30% withholding on payments to foreign entities that are not financial institutions unless the foreign entity certifies that it does not have a greater than 10% U.S. owner or provides the withholding agent with identifying information on each greater than 10% U.S. owner. Depending on the status of a non-U.S. stockholder and the status of the intermediaries through which they hold their shares, non-U.S. stockholders could be subject to this 30% withholding tax with respect to distributions on their shares and proceeds from the sale of their shares. Under certain circumstances, a non-U.S. stockholder might be eligible for refunds or credits of such taxes.
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Information Reporting
We will send to each of our U.S. stockholders, after the end of each calendar year, a notice providing the amounts includible in the U.S. stockholder’s taxable income for such year as ordinary income and as long-term capital gain for cash distributions received. In addition, the U.S. federal tax status of each year’s distributions will generally be reported to the IRS (including the amount of dividends, if any, eligible for the preferential rates applicable to long-term capital gains).
Regulation as a BDC
We are a closed-end, non-diversified management investment company that has elected to be regulated as a BDC under Section 54 of the 1940 Act. As such, we are subject to regulation under the 1940 Act. The 1940 Act contains prohibitions and restrictions relating to transactions between BDCs and their affiliates, principal underwriters and affiliates of those affiliates or underwriters and requires that a majority of the directors be persons other than “interested persons,” as defined in the 1940 Act. In addition, the 1940 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 approved by a "vote of a majority of outstanding voting securities,” as defined in the 1940 Act.
In general, a BDC must have been organized and have its principal place of business in the U.S. and must be operated for the purpose of making investments in qualifying assets, as described in Sections 55(a)(1) through (a)(3) of the 1940 Act.
Qualifying Assets
Under the 1940 Act, a BDC may not acquire any asset other than assets of the type listed in Section 55(a) of the 1940 Act, which are referred to as qualifying assets, unless, at the time the acquisition is made, qualifying assets, other than certain interests in furniture, equipment, real estate, or leasehold improvements (“Operating Assets”), represent at least 70% of total assets, exclusive of Operating Assets. The types of qualifying assets in which we may invest under the 1940 Act include the following:
(1)Securities purchased in transactions not involving any public offering from the issuer of such securities, which issuer is an eligible portfolio company. An eligible portfolio company is generally defined in the 1940 Act as any issuer which:
(a)is organized under the laws of, and has its principal place of business in, any state or states in the U.S.;
(b)is not an investment company (other than a small business investment company wholly owned by the BDC or otherwise excluded from the definition of investment company); and
(c)satisfies one of the following:
(i)it does not have any class of securities with respect to which a broker or dealer may extend margin credit;
(ii)it is controlled by the BDC and for which an affiliate of the BDC serves as a director;
(iii)it has total assets of not more than $4 million and capital and surplus of not less than $2 million;
(iv)it does not have any class of securities listed on a national securities exchange; or
(v)it has a class of securities listed on a national securities exchange, with an aggregate market value of outstanding voting and non-voting equity of less than $250 million.
(2)Securities received in exchange for or distributed on or with respect to securities described in (1) above, or pursuant to the exercise of options, warrants or rights relating to such securities.
(3)Cash, cash items, government securities or high quality debt securities maturing in one year or less from the time of investment.
As of March 31, 2024, 99.8% of our assets were qualifying assets.
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Asset Coverage
Pursuant to Section 61(a)(3) of the 1940 Act, we are permitted, under specified conditions, to issue multiple classes of senior securities representing indebtedness. However, pursuant to Section 18(c) of the 1940 Act, we are permitted to issue only one class of senior securities that is stock. In either case, we may only issue such senior securities if such class of senior securities, after such issuance, has an asset coverage, as defined in Section 18(h) of the 1940 Act, of at least 150%. As of March 31, 2024, our asset coverage on our senior securities representing indebtedness was 219.0%.
In addition, our ability to pay dividends or distributions (other than dividends payable in our common stock) to holders of any class of our capital stock would be restricted if our "senior securities representing indebtedness" fail to have an asset coverage of at least 150% (measured at the time of declaration of such distribution and accounting for such distribution). The 1940 Act does not apply this limitation to privately arranged debt that is not intended to be publicly distributed, unless this limitation is specifically negotiated by the lender. In addition, our ability to pay dividends or distributions (other than dividends payable in our common stock) to our common stockholders would be restricted if our "senior securities that are stock" fail to have an asset coverage of at least 150% (measured at the time of declaration of such distribution and accounting for such distribution). When the value of our assets declines, we might be unable to satisfy these asset coverage requirements. To satisfy the 150% asset coverage requirement in the event that we are seeking to pay a distribution, we might either have to (i) liquidate a portion of our portfolio to repay a portion of our indebtedness or (ii) issue common stock. This may occur at a time when a sale of a portfolio asset may be disadvantageous, or when we have limited access to capital markets on agreeable terms. In addition, any amounts that we use to service our indebtedness or for offering costs will not be available for distributions to our stockholders. If we are unable to regain the requisite asset coverage through these methods, we may be forced to suspend the payment of such dividends or distributions.
Significant Managerial Assistance
A BDC generally must make available significant managerial assistance to issuers of certain of its portfolio securities that the BDC counts as a qualifying asset for the 70% test described above. Making available significant managerial assistance means, among other things, any arrangement whereby the BDC, through its directors, officers or employees, offers to provide, and, if accepted, does so provide, significant guidance and counsel concerning the management, operations or business objectives and policies of a portfolio company. Significant managerial assistance also includes the exercise of a controlling influence over the management and policies of the portfolio company. However, with respect to certain, but not all such securities, where the BDC purchases such securities in conjunction with one or more other persons acting together, one of the other persons in the group may make available such managerial assistance, or the BDC may exercise such control jointly.
Summary Risk Factors
Below is a summary of the principal risk factors associated with an investment in our securities. In addition to the below, you should carefully consider the information included in “Risk Factors”, beginning on page 20 of this Annual Report, together with all of the other information included in this Annual Report and the other reports and documents filed or furnished by us with the SEC for a more detailed discussion of the principal risks, as well as certain other risks that you should carefully consider before deciding to invest in our securities.
Market conditions could negatively impact our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.
Volatility in the capital markets may make it more difficult to raise capital and may adversely affect the valuations of our investments.
We may experience fluctuations in our quarterly and annual results based on the impact of inflation in the U.S.
Changes in interest rates may negatively impact our investments and have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.
The lack of liquidity of our privately held investments may adversely affect our business.
Our investments in lower middle market companies are extremely risky and could cause you to lose all or a part of your investment.
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Our investments are typically long-term and will require several years to realize liquidation events.
We typically invest in transactions involving acquisitions, buyouts and recapitalizations of companies, which will subject us to the risks associated with change in control transactions.
Our portfolio is concentrated in a limited number of companies and industries, which subjects us to an increased risk of significant loss if any one of these companies does not repay us or if the industries experience downturns.
Any inability to renew, extend or replace our Credit Facility on terms favorable to us, or at all, could adversely impact our liquidity and ability to fund new investments or maintain distributions to our stockholders.
Changes in laws or regulations governing our operations, or changes in the interpretation thereof, and any failure by us to comply with laws or regulations governing our operations may adversely affect our business.
There are significant potential conflicts of interest, including with the Adviser, which could impact our investment returns.
Our success depends on the Adviser’s ability to attract and retain qualified personnel in a competitive environment.
Our incentive fee may induce the Adviser to make certain investments, including speculative investments.
We may be obligated to pay the Adviser incentive compensation even if we incur a loss.
The Adviser is not obligated to provide a credit of the base management fee or incentive fee, which could negatively impact our earnings and our ability to maintain our current level of distributions to our stockholders.
There is a risk that you may not receive distributions or that distributions may not grow over time.
Investing in our securities may involve an above average degree of risk.
Common shares of closed-end investment companies frequently trade at a discount to the NAV per share.
The indentures under which our unsecured notes were issued contain limited protection for holders of such notes.
Cybersecurity risks and cyber incidents may adversely affect our business by causing a disruption to our operations, or the operations of businesses in which we invest, a compromise or corruption of our confidential information and/or damage to our business relationships, all of which could negatively impact our business, financial condition and operating results.
Code of Ethics
We, and all of the Gladstone family of companies, have adopted a code of ethics and business conduct applicable to all of the officers, directors and personnel of such companies that complies with the guidelines set forth in Item 406 of Regulation S-K of the Securities Act, and Rule 17j-1 of the 1940 Act. As required by the 1940 Act, this code establishes procedures for personal investments, restricts certain transactions by such personnel and requires the reporting of certain transactions and holdings by such personnel. This code of ethics and business conduct is publicly available on the Investors section of our website under “Governance – Governance Documents” at www.GladstoneInvestment.com. Appendix A to the code of ethics and business conduct is our insider trading policy. We intend to provide any required disclosure of any amendments to or waivers of the provisions of this code by posting information regarding any such amendment or waiver to our website or in a Current Report on Form 8-K.
Compliance Policies and Procedures
We and the Adviser have adopted and implemented written policies and procedures reasonably designed to prevent violation of the federal securities laws, and our Board of Directors is required to review these compliance policies and procedures annually to assess their adequacy and the effectiveness of their implementation. We have designated a chief compliance officer, John Dellafiora, Jr., who also serves as chief compliance officer for all of the Gladstone companies.
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Staffing
We do not currently have any employees and do not expect to have any employees in the foreseeable future. Currently, services necessary for our business are provided by individuals who are employees of the Adviser and the Administrator pursuant to the terms of the Advisory Agreement and the Administration Agreement, respectively. No employee of the Adviser or the Administrator dedicates all of his or her time to us. However, we expect that 20 to 25 full-time employees of the Adviser and the Administrator will spend substantial time on our matters during the remainder of calendar year 2024 and all of calendar year 2025.
As of March 31, 2024, the Adviser and Administrator collectively had 70 full-time employees. A breakdown of these employees is summarized by functional area in the table below:
Number of IndividualsFunctional Area
13Executive management
21Accounting, administration, compliance, human resources, legal, and treasury
36Investment management, portfolio management, and due diligence
The Adviser and the Administrator aim to attract and retain capable advisory and administrative personnel, respectively, by offering competitive base salaries and bonus structure, and by providing employees with appropriate opportunities for professional growth.
Available Information
We file with or furnish to the SEC copies of our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements and other information meeting the information requirements of Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), and make such reports and any amendments thereto available free of charge through the “Investors – SEC Filings” section of our website at www.GladstoneInvestment.com as soon as reasonably practicable after such materials are electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC. Information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report. The SEC also maintains a website that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC at www.sec.gov.
ITEM 1A.    RISK FACTORS
You should carefully consider these risk factors, together with all of the other information included in this Annual Report and the other reports and documents filed by us with the SEC. The risks set out below are not the only risks we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us, or not presently deemed material by us, may also impair our operations and performance. If any of the following events occur, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be materially and adversely affected. If that happens, the trading price of our securities and the NAV of our common stock could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment. The risk factors described below are the principal risk factors associated with an investment in our securities as well as those factors generally associated with an investment company with investment objectives, investment policies, capital structure or trading markets similar to ours.
Risks Related to the Economy
Market conditions could negatively impact our business, results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows.
The market in which we operate is affected by a number of factors that are largely beyond our control but can nonetheless have a potentially significant, negative impact on us. These factors include, among other things:
changes in interest rates and credit spreads and the effects of inflation on us and our portfolio companies;
the availability of credit, including the price, terms and conditions under which it can be obtained;
the quality, pricing, and availability of suitable investments and credit losses with respect to our investments;
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the ability to obtain accurate market-based valuations;
investment values relative to the value of the underlying assets;
default rates on the loans underlying our investments and the amount of related losses;
prepayment rates, delinquency rates and the timing and amount of service advances;
competition;
the actual and perceived state of the economy and capital markets generally;
amendments or repeals of legislation, or changes in regulations or regulatory interpretations thereof, and transitions of government, including uncertainty regarding any of the foregoing;
the national and global political environment, including war, armed conflicts, foreign relations and trading policies;
the impact of potential changes to the Code; and
the attractiveness of other types of investments relative to investments in Lower Middle Market companies generally.
Changes in these factors are difficult to predict, and a change in one factor could affect other factors, which could result in adverse effects to our business, results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows.
Volatility in the capital markets could make it more difficult to raise capital and may adversely affect the valuations of our investments.
Given the volatility and dislocation that the capital markets have experienced from time to time, many BDCs have faced, and may in the future face, a challenging environment in which to raise capital. We could in the future have difficulty accessing debt and equity capital, and a severe disruption in U.S. or global financial markets or deterioration in credit and financing conditions, including as a result of rising inflation, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows. In addition, significant changes in the capital markets have had, and may in the future have, a negative effect on the valuations of our investments and on the potential for liquidity events involving our investments. Additionally, volatility in the U.S. repo market may affect other financial markets worldwide. An inability to raise capital, and any required sale of our investments for liquidity purposes, could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
We may experience fluctuations in our quarterly and annual results based on the impact of inflation in the U.S.
Certain of our portfolio companies are in industries that have been and, in the future, may be impacted by inflation, such as consumer goods and services and manufacturing. Our portfolio companies may not be able to pass on to customers increases in their costs of operations which could greatly affect their operating results, impacting their ability to repay our loans. In addition, any projected future decreases in our portfolio companies’ operating results due to inflation could adversely impact the fair value of those investments. Any decreases in the fair value of our investments could result in future unrealized losses and therefore reduce our net assets resulting from operations.
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Public health threats may adversely impact the businesses in which we invest and affect our business, operating results, and financial condition.
Public health threats, such as pandemics, may disrupt the operations of the businesses in which we invest. Such threats can create economic and political uncertainties and can contribute to global economic instability. In the event of a future public health threat, our portfolio companies may face limitations on their business activities for an unknown period of time, including shutdowns that may be requested or mandated by governmental authorities, may experience disruptions in their supply chains or decreased consumer demand, or may experience increases in health and safety expenses, payroll costs and other operating expenses. These adverse economic impacts may decrease the value of the collateral securing our loans in such portfolio companies, as well as the value of our equity investments. In addition, these adverse impacts could cause certain of our portfolio companies to have difficulty meeting their debt service requirements, which in turn could lead to an increase in defaults, and/or could diminish the ability of certain of our portfolio companies to engage in liquidity events. These negative impacts on our portfolio companies and their performance may increase realized and unrealized losses related to our investments, which may, in turn, adversely impact our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Risks Related to Interest Rates
Market interest rates may have an effect on the value of our securities.
One of the factors that influences the price of our securities is the distribution yield on our securities (as a percentage of the price of our securities) relative to market interest rates. An increase in market interest rates, which have risen recently, may lead prospective purchasers of our securities to expect a higher distribution yield. In addition, higher interest rates have increased our borrowing costs. As a result, higher market interest rates tend to cause the value of our securities to decrease.
Changes in interest rates may negatively impact our investments and have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.
Generally, interest rate fluctuations and changes in credit spreads on floating rate loans may have a negative impact on our investments and investment opportunities and, accordingly, may have a material adverse effect on our rate of return on invested capital, our net investment income, our NAV and the market price of our securities. As interest rates increase, generally, the cost of borrowing under our Credit Facility increases, which may affect our ability to make new investments on favorable terms or at all. A substantial portion of our debt investments have variable interest rates that reset periodically and are generally based on SOFR. As interest rates have increased, the operating performance of certain of our portfolio companies has been affected by increasing debt service obligations and, therefore, may affect our results of operations. In addition, to the extent that further increases in interest rates make it difficult or impossible to make payments on outstanding indebtedness to us or other financial sponsors or refinance debt that is maturing in the near term, some of our portfolio companies may be unable to repay such debt at maturity and may be forced to sell assets, undergo a recapitalization or seek bankruptcy protection. Elevated interest rates could also cause borrowers to shift cash from other productive uses to the payment of interest, which may have a material adverse effect on their business and operations and could, over time, lead to increased defaults. Additionally, as interest rates increase and the corresponding risk of a default by borrowers increases, the liquidity of higher interest rate loans may decrease as fewer investors may be willing to purchase such loans in the secondary market in light of the increased risk of a default by the borrower and the heightened risk of a loss of an investment in such loans. Decreases in credit spreads on debt that pays a floating rate of return would have an impact on the income generation of our floating rate assets. Trading prices for debt that pays a fixed rate of return tend to fall as interest rates rise. Trading prices tend to fluctuate more for fixed rate securities that have longer maturities. There can be no guarantee the Federal Reserve Board will raise rates at a gradual pace, or at all, nor can there be any assurance that markets will not adversely react to rate increases. Recent and future increases in interest rates could have a negative effect on our investments, which could negatively impact our operating results, financial condition, and cash flows.
Conversely, reduced interest rates will result in a decrease in our total investment income unless offset by interest rate floors or an increase in the spread of our debt investments with variable interest rates. In addition, our net investment income could decrease if there is no reduction or credit to the base management or incentive fees that we pay to the Adviser or if we are unable to refinance our fixed rate debt obligations or issue new fixed rate debt at lower rates. In addition, when interest rates decline, borrowers may refinance their loans at lower interest rates, which could shorten the average life of the loans and reduce the associated returns on the investment, as well as require the Adviser and its investment professionals to incur management time and expense to re-deploy such proceeds, including on terms that may not be as favorable as our existing loans.
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A change in interest rates may adversely affect our profitability and any hedging strategy may expose us to additional risks.
We anticipate using a combination of equity and long-term and short-term borrowings to finance our investment activities. As a result, a portion of our income will depend upon the spread between the rate at which we borrow funds and the rate at which we loan these funds. An increase or decrease in interest rates could reduce the spread between the rate at which we invest and the rate at which we borrow, and thus, adversely affect our profitability if we have not appropriately hedged against such event. Alternatively, interest rate hedging arrangements may limit our ability to participate in the benefits of lower interest rates with respect to the hedged portfolio.
Ultimately, we expect approximately 90% of the loans in our portfolio to be at variable rates determined on the basis of the SOFR and approximately up to 10% to be at fixed rates. As of March 31, 2024, based on the total principal balance of debt investments outstanding, our portfolio consisted of 100.0% of loans at variable rates with floors.
As of March 31, 2024, we did not have any hedging arrangements, such as interest rate hedges, in place. While hedging arrangements may insulate us against adverse fluctuations in interest rates, they may also limit our ability to participate in the benefits of lower interest rates with respect to the hedged portfolio. Adverse developments resulting from changes in interest rates or any future hedging transactions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows. Our ability to receive payments pursuant to a hedging arrangement is linked to the ability of the counter-party to that hedging arrangement to make the required payments. To the extent that the counter-party to the hedging arrangement is unable to pay pursuant to the terms of the agreement, we may lose the hedging protection of the arrangement.
Also, the fair value of certain of our debt investments is based, in part, on the current market yields or interest rates of similar securities. A change in interest rates could have a significant impact on our determination of the fair value of these debt investments. In addition, a change in interest rates could also have an impact on the fair value of any hedging arrangements then in effect that could result in the recording of unrealized appreciation or depreciation in future periods. Therefore, adverse developments resulting from changes in interest rates could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows. Refer to “Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk” for additional information on interest rate fluctuations.
Risks Related to Our Investments
We operate in a highly competitive market for investment opportunities.
There is competitive pressure in the BDC and investment company marketplace for first and second lien secured debt, which can result in reduced yields on investment. A large number of entities compete with us to make the types of investments we seek to make in Lower Middle Market companies. We compete with public and private buyout funds, commercial and investment banks, commercial financing companies, and, to the extent that they provide an alternative form of financing, hedge funds, mutual funds, and private equity. Many of our competitors are substantially larger and have considerably greater financial, technical and marketing resources than we do. For example, 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 would 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 1940 Act imposes on us as a BDC. The competitive pressures we face could 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 take advantage of attractive investment opportunities from time to time and we can offer no assurance that we will be able to identify and make investments that are consistent with our investment objectives. We do not seek to compete based on the interest rates we offer, and we believe that some of our competitors may make loans with interest rates that will be comparable to or lower than the rates we offer. We may lose investment opportunities if we do not match our competitors’ pricing, terms, and structure. However, if we match our competitors’ pricing, terms, and structure, we may experience decreased net interest income and increased risk of credit loss.
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Our investments in Lower Middle Market portfolio companies are extremely risky and could cause you to lose all or a part of your investment.
Investments in Lower Middle Market portfolio companies are subject to a number of significant risks including the following:
Lower Middle Market businesses are likely to have greater exposure to economic downturns than larger businesses. Our portfolio companies may have fewer resources than larger businesses, and any economic downturns or recessions are more likely to have a material adverse effect on them. When the economy contracts, the financial results of Lower Middle Market businesses, like those in which we invest, could experience deterioration or limited growth from current levels, which could ultimately lead to difficulty in meeting their debt service requirements and an increase in defaults. Consequently, for any portfolio company that is adversely impacted by an economic downturn or recession, its ability to repay our loan(s) or engage in a liquidity event, such as a sale, recapitalization or initial public offering would be diminished.
Lower Middle Market businesses may have limited financial resources and may not be able to repay the loans we make to them. Our strategy includes providing financing to portfolio companies that typically do not have readily available access to financing. While we believe that this provides an attractive opportunity for us to generate profits, this may make it difficult for the portfolio companies to repay their loans to us upon maturity. A borrower’s ability to repay its loan(s) may be adversely affected by numerous factors, including the failure to meet its business plan, a downturn in its industry or negative economic conditions. Deterioration in a borrower’s financial condition and prospects usually will be accompanied by deterioration in the value of any collateral and a reduction in the likelihood of realizing on any guaranties we may have obtained from the borrower’s management. As of March 31, 2024, loans to two portfolio companies were on non-accrual status with an aggregate debt cost basis of $59.1 million, or 9.0% of the cost basis of all debt investments in our portfolio. We cannot assure you that our efforts to improve profitability and cash flows of these companies will prove successful. In some of our loans we expect to be subordinated to a senior lender and our security interest in any collateral would, accordingly, likely be second lien and subordinate to another lender’s security interest.
Lower Middle Market businesses typically have narrower product lines and smaller market shares than large businesses. Our target portfolio companies tend to be more vulnerable to competitors’ actions and market conditions, as well as general economic downturns. In addition, our portfolio companies may face intense competition, including competition from companies with greater financial resources, more extensive development, manufacturing, marketing and other capabilities and a larger number of qualified managerial and technical personnel.
There is generally little or no publicly available information about these businesses. Because we seek to invest in privately owned businesses, there is generally little or no publicly available operating and financial information about our potential portfolio companies. As a result, we rely on our officers, the Adviser and its employees, Gladstone Securities and consultants to perform due diligence investigations of these portfolio companies, their operations, and their prospects. We may not learn all of the material information we need to know regarding these businesses through our investigations to make a well-informed investment decision.
Lower Middle Market businesses generally have less predictable operating results. We expect that our portfolio companies may have significant variations in their operating results, may from time to time be exposed to litigation, may be engaged in rapidly changing businesses with products subject to a substantial risk of obsolescence, may require substantial additional capital to support their operations, to finance expansion or to maintain their competitive position, may otherwise have a weak financial position or may be adversely affected by changes in the business cycle. Our portfolio companies may not meet net income, cash flow and other coverage tests typically imposed by their senior lenders. A borrower’s failure to satisfy financial or operating covenants imposed by senior lenders could lead to defaults and, potentially, foreclosure on its senior credit facility, which could additionally trigger cross-defaults in other agreements. If this were to occur, it is possible that the borrower’s ability to repay our loan(s) would be jeopardized.
Lower Middle Market businesses are more likely to be dependent on one or two persons. Typically, the success of a Lower Middle Market business also depends on the management talents and efforts of one or two persons or a small group of persons. The death, disability or resignation of one or more of these persons could have a material adverse impact on our portfolio company and, in turn, on us.
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Lower Middle Market businesses may have limited operating histories. While we intend to continue to target stable companies with proven track records, we may invest in new companies that meet our other investment criteria. Portfolio companies with limited operating histories will be exposed to all of the operating risks that new businesses face and may be particularly susceptible to, among other risks, market downturns, competitive pressures and the departure of key executive officers.
Debt securities of Lower Middle Market companies typically are not rated by a credit rating agency. Typically, a Lower Middle Market business cannot or will not expend the resources to have their debt securities rated by a credit rating agency. We expect that most, if not all, of the debt securities we acquire will be unrated. Investors should assume that these loans would be at rates below what is considered “investment grade” quality. Investments rated below investment grade are often referred to as high yield securities or junk bonds and may be considered high risk as compared to investment grade debt instruments.
Lower Middle Market companies may be highly leveraged. Some of our portfolio companies are highly leveraged, which could 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 could 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.
Lower Middle Market companies may operate in regulated industries or provide services to governments. Some of our portfolio companies may operate in regulated industries and/or provide services to federal, state or local governments, or operate in industries that provide services to regulated industries or federal, state or local governments, any of which could lead to delayed payments for services or subject the company to changing payment and reimbursement rates or other terms.
Because the majority of the loans we make and equity securities we invest in are not publicly traded, there is uncertainty regarding the value of our privately-held securities.
Substantially all of our portfolio investments are, and we expect will continue to be, in the form of securities that are not publicly traded. The fair value of securities and other investments that are not publicly traded may not be readily determinable. In valuing our investment portfolio, several techniques are used, including, a total enterprise value approach, a yield analysis, and market quotes. A third-party valuation firm provides estimates of fair value on generally all of our debt investments that are not valued using total enterprise value (“TEV”) and we use another independent valuation firm to provide valuation inputs for our significant equity investments, which are generally valued using TEV, including earnings multiple ranges, as well as other information. In addition to these techniques, inputs and information, other factors are considered when determining fair value of our investments, including: the nature and realizable value of the collateral, including external parties’ guaranties; any relevant offers or letters of intent to acquire the portfolio company; timing of expected loan repayments; and the markets in which the portfolio company operates.
Fair value measurements of our investments may involve subjective judgments and estimates and, due to the uncertainty inherent in valuing these securities, the determination of fair value may fluctuate from period to period and may differ materially from the values that could be obtained if a ready market for these securities existed. Additionally, changes in the market environment and other events that may occur over the life of the investment may cause the gains or losses ultimately realized on these investments to be different than the valuations currently assigned.
Our NAV would be adversely affected if the fair value of our investments are higher than the values that we ultimately realize upon the disposal of such securities.
The valuation process for certain of our portfolio holdings creates a conflict of interest.
A substantial portion of our portfolio investments are securities for which market quotations are not readily available. In connection with the determination of the fair value of these securities, our Valuation Team prepares portfolio company valuations based upon the most recent portfolio company financial statements available and projected financial results of each portfolio company. The participation of our Adviser’s investment professionals in our valuation process and Mr. Gladstone’s pecuniary interest in our Adviser may result in a conflict of interest, as the management fees that we pay our
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Adviser are based on our average gross assets, less uninvested cash or cash equivalents from borrowings, and adjusted appropriately for any share issuances or repurchases during the period.
The lack of liquidity of our privately-held investments may adversely affect our business.
We generally make investments in private companies whose securities are not traded in any public market. Substantially all of the investments we presently hold and the investments we expect to acquire in the future are, and will be, subject to legal and other restrictions on resale and will otherwise be less liquid than publicly-traded securities. The illiquidity of our investments may make it difficult for us to quickly obtain cash equal to the value at which we record our investments if the need arises. This could cause us to miss important investment opportunities. In addition, if we are required to liquidate all or a portion of our portfolio quickly, we may record substantial realized losses upon liquidation. We may also face other restrictions on our ability to liquidate an investment in a portfolio company to the extent that we, the Adviser, the Administrator, or our respective officers, or affiliates have material non-public information regarding such portfolio company.
Due to the uncertainty inherent in valuing these securities, the Adviser’s determinations of fair value may differ materially from the values that could be obtained if a ready market for these securities existed. Our NAV could be materially affected if the Adviser’s determinations regarding the fair value of our investments are materially different from the values that we ultimately realize upon our disposal of such securities. Additional discussion regarding risks associated with determinations made by the Adviser is found in the risk factor “The valuation process for certain of our portfolio holdings creates a conflict of interest.”
Our financial results could be negatively affected if a significant portfolio investment fails to perform as expected.
Our total investment in one or more companies may be significant individually or in the aggregate. As a result, if a significant investment in one or more companies fails to perform as expected, our financial results could be more negatively affected and the magnitude of the loss could be more significant than if we had made smaller investments in more companies. Our five largest investments represented 42.7% and 42.8% of the fair value of our total portfolio as of March 31, 2024 and 2023, respectively. Any disposition of a significant investment in one or more portfolio companies may negatively impact our net investment income and limit our ability to pay distributions.
We typically invest in transactions involving acquisitions, buyouts and recapitalizations of companies, which will subject us to the risks associated with change in control transactions.
Our strategy, in part, includes making debt and equity investments in companies in connection with acquisitions, buyouts and recapitalizations, which subjects us to the risks associated with change in control transactions. Change in control transactions often present a number of uncertainties. Companies undergoing change in control transactions often face challenges retaining key employees and maintaining relationships with customers and suppliers. While we hope to avoid many of these difficulties by participating in transactions where the management team is retained and by conducting thorough due diligence in advance of our decision to invest, if our portfolio companies experience one or more of these problems, we may not realize the value that we expect in connection with our investments, which would likely harm our operating results, financial condition, and cash flows.
Our portfolio companies may incur debt that ranks equally with, or senior to, our investments in such companies and/or we could be subject to lender liability claims.
We primarily invest in secured first and second lien debt securities issued by our portfolio companies. In some cases, portfolio companies will be permitted to have other debt that ranks equally with, or senior to, the debt securities in which we invest. By their terms, such debt securities may provide that the holders thereof are entitled to receive payment of interest and principal on or before the dates on which we are entitled to receive payments in respect of the debt securities in which we invest. Also, in the event of insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization, or bankruptcy of a portfolio company, holders of debt instruments ranking senior to our investment in that portfolio company would typically be entitled to receive payment in full before we receive any distribution in respect of our investment. Additionally, depending on the facts and circumstances, including the extent to which we provide managerial assistance to any portfolio company subject to bankruptcy, a bankruptcy court might re-characterize our debt investments and subordinate all or a portion of our claims to that of other creditors. After repaying such senior creditors, such portfolio company may not have any remaining assets to use for repaying its obligation to us. We may also be subject to lender liability claims for actions taken by us with respect to a borrower’s business or in instances in which we exercised control over the borrower as a result of actions taken
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in rendering any managerial assistance. Furthermore, in the case of debt ranking equally with debt securities in which we invest, we would have to share on an equal basis any distributions with other creditors holding such debt in the event of an insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization, or bankruptcy of a portfolio company.
Our portfolio is concentrated in a limited number of companies and industries, which subjects us to an increased risk of significant loss if any one of these companies does not repay us or if the industries experience downturns.
As of March 31, 2024, we had investments in 24 portfolio companies, the five largest of which included SFEG, Nocturne, Nth Degree, Old World, and Brunswick and comprised $393.5 million, or 42.7%, of our total investment portfolio, at fair value. A consequence of a limited number of investments is that the aggregate returns we realize may be substantially adversely affected by the unfavorable performance of a small number of such investments or a substantial write-down of any one investment, including due to the current inflation and interest rate environment. Beyond our regulatory and income tax diversification requirements, as well as Credit Facility requirements, we do not have fixed guidelines for industry concentration and our investments could potentially be concentrated in relatively few industries. In addition, while we do not intend to invest 25% or more of our total assets in a particular industry or group of industries at the time of investment, it is possible that as the values of our portfolio companies change, one industry or a group of industries may comprise in excess of 25% of the value of our total assets. A downturn in a particular industry in which we have invested a significant portion of our total assets could have a materially adverse effect on us. As of March 31, 2024, our largest industry concentration was in Diversified/Conglomerate Services, representing 28.7% of our total investments, at fair value.
Volatility of oil and natural gas prices could impair certain of our portfolio companies’ operations and ability to satisfy obligations to their respective lenders and investors, including us, which could negatively impact our financial condition.
Our portfolio includes companies related to the oil and gas industry with the fair value of these investments representing approximately $51.2 million, or 5.6% of our total portfolio at fair value as of March 31, 2024. These businesses provide services to oil and gas companies and are indirectly impacted by the prices of, and demand for, oil and natural gas, which have from time to time experienced volatility, including rapid and significant changes in prices, and such volatility could continue or increase in the future. A substantial decline in oil and natural gas demand or prices may adversely affect the business, financial condition, cash flows, liquidity or results of operations of these portfolio companies and might impair their ability to meet capital expenditure obligations and financial commitments. Any decline in oil prices, especially for a prolonged period, could therefore have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our investments are typically long-term and will require several years to realize liquidation events.
Since we generally make five year term loans and hold our loans and equity positions until the loans mature and/or we exit the investment, investors should not expect realization events, if any, to occur over the near term. In addition, we expect that any equity investments may require several years to appreciate in value and we cannot give any assurance that such appreciation will occur or ultimately be realized.
The disposition of our investments may result in contingent liabilities.
Currently, all but one of our investments involve private securities. In connection with the disposition of an investment in private securities, we may be required to make representations about the business and financial affairs of the underlying portfolio company typical of those made in connection with the sale of a business. We may also be required to indemnify the purchasers of such investment to the extent that any such representations turn out to be inaccurate or with respect to certain potential liabilities. These arrangements may result in contingent liabilities that may ultimately yield funding obligations that must be satisfied through our return of certain distributions previously made to us.
Portfolio company litigation or other litigation or claims against us or our personnel could result in additional costs and the diversion of management time and resources.
In the course of investing in and often providing significant managerial assistance to certain of our portfolio companies, certain persons employed by the Adviser sometimes serve as directors on the boards of such companies. To the extent that litigation arises out of our investments in these companies or otherwise, even if meritless, we or such employees may be named as defendants in such litigation, which could result in additional costs, including defense costs, and the diversion of management time and resources. We may be unable to accurately estimate our exposure to litigation risk if we record balance sheet reserves for probable loss contingencies. As a result, any reserves we establish to cover any settlements or
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judgments may not be sufficient to cover our actual financial exposure, which may have a material impact on our results of operations, financial condition, or cash flows.
While we believe we would have valid defenses to potential claims brought due to our investment in any portfolio company, and will defend any such claims vigorously, we may nevertheless expend significant amounts of money in defense costs and expenses. Further, if we enter into settlements or suffer an adverse outcome in any litigation, we could be required to pay significant amounts. In addition, if any of our portfolio companies become subject to direct or indirect claims or other obligations, such as defense costs or damages in litigation or settlement, our investment in such companies could diminish in value and we could suffer indirect losses. Further, these matters could cause us to expend significant management time and effort in connection with assessment and defense of any claims.
Any unrealized depreciation we experience on our investment portfolio may be an indication of future realized losses, which could reduce any gains available for distribution.
As a BDC, we are required to carry our investments at market value or, if no market value is ascertainable, at fair value. We will record decreases in the market values or fair values of our investments as unrealized depreciation. Since our inception, we have, at times, incurred a cumulative net unrealized depreciation of our portfolio. Any unrealized depreciation in our investment portfolio could result in realized losses in the future and ultimately in reductions of any gains available for distribution to stockholders in future periods.
Risks Related to Our External Financing
In addition to regulatory limitations on our ability to raise capital, the Credit Facility contains various covenants which, if not complied with, could accelerate our repayment obligations under the facility, thereby materially and adversely affecting our liquidity, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, and ability to pay distributions.
We will have a continuing need for capital to finance our investments. As of March 31, 2024, we, through our wholly-owned subsidiary, Business Investment, had $67.0 million of borrowings outstanding under the Credit Facility, which provides for maximum borrowings of $200.0 million, with a revolving period end date of October 30, 2026 (the “Revolving Period End Date”). The Credit Facility permits us to fund additional loans and investments as long as we are within the conditions and covenants set forth in the credit agreement. Among other things, the Credit Facility contains covenants that require Business Investment to maintain its status as a separate legal entity, prohibit certain significant corporate transactions (such as mergers, consolidations, liquidations or dissolutions) and restrict certain material changes to our credit and collection policy without the lenders’ consent. The Credit Facility also generally seeks to restrict distributions to stockholders to the sum of (i) our net investment income, (ii) net capital gains, and (iii) amounts deemed by the Company to be considered as having been paid during the prior fiscal year in accordance with Section 855(a) of the Code. Loans eligible to be pledged as collateral are subject to certain limitations, including, among other things, restrictions on geographic concentrations, industry concentrations, loan size, payment frequency and status, average life, portfolio company leverage, and lien property. The Credit Facility also requires Business Investment to comply with other financial and operational covenants, which obligate Business Investment to, among other things, maintain certain financial ratios, including asset and interest coverage and a minimum number of obligors in the borrowing base. Additionally, the Credit Facility contains a performance guarantee that requires the Company to maintain (i) a minimum net worth of the greater of $210.0 million or $210.0 million plus 50% of all equity and subordinated debt raised minus 50% of any equity or subordinated debt redeemed or retired after November 16, 2016, which equated to $348.7 million as of March 31, 2024; (ii) asset coverage with respect to senior securities representing indebtedness of at least 150% (or such percentage as may be set forth in Section 18 of the 1940 Act, as modified by Section 61 of the 1940 Act); and (iii) our status as a BDC under the 1940 Act and as a RIC under the Code. As of March 31, 2024, and as defined in the performance guaranty of the Credit Facility, we had a net worth of $822.4 million, asset coverage on our senior securities representing indebtedness of 219.0%, calculated in accordance with the requirements of Sections 18 and 61 of the 1940 Act, and an active status as a BDC and RIC. As of March 31, 2024, we were in compliance with all covenants under the Credit Facility; however, our continued compliance depends on many factors, some of which are beyond our control.
Any unrealized depreciation in our portfolio may increase in future periods and threaten our ability to comply with the minimum net worth covenant and other covenants under the Credit Facility. Our failure to satisfy these covenants could result in foreclosure by our lenders, which would accelerate our repayment obligations under the facility and thereby have a material adverse effect on our business, liquidity, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, and ability to pay distributions to our stockholders.
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Any inability to renew, extend or replace the Credit Facility on terms favorable to us, or at all, could adversely impact our liquidity and ability to fund new investments or maintain distributions to our stockholders.
If the Credit Facility is not renewed or extended by the Revolving Period End Date, all principal and interest will be due and payable on October 30, 2028 (two years after the Revolving Period End Date). Subject to certain terms and conditions, the Credit Facility may be expanded to a total of $300.0 million through additional commitments of existing or new lenders. However, if such lenders are unwilling to provide additional commitments under the terms of the Credit Facility, we will be unable to expand the Credit Facility and thus will continue to have limited availability to finance new investments under the Credit Facility. There can be no guaranty that we will be able to renew, extend or replace the Credit Facility upon its Revolving Period End Date on terms that are favorable to us, if at all. Our ability to expand the Credit Facility, and to obtain replacement financing at or before the time of its Revolving Period End Date, will be constrained by then current economic conditions affecting the credit markets. In the event that we are not able to expand the Credit Facility, or to renew, extend or refinance the Credit Facility by the Revolving Period End Date, this could have a material adverse effect on our liquidity and ability to fund new investments, our ability to make distributions to our stockholders and our ability to qualify as a RIC under the Code.
If we are unable to secure replacement financing, we may be forced to sell certain assets on disadvantageous terms, which may result in realized losses, and such realized losses could materially exceed the amount of any unrealized depreciation on these assets as of our most recent balance sheet date, which would have a material adverse effect on our results of operations. In addition to selling assets, or as an alternative, we may issue common equity to repay amounts outstanding under the Credit Facility. Depending upon the trading prices of our common stock (and with the approval of our independent directors and stockholders), such an equity offering may have a dilutive impact on our existing stockholders’ interest in our earnings, assets and voting interest in us. If we are able to renew, extend or refinance the Credit Facility prior to maturity, renewal, extension or refinancing, it could potentially result in significantly higher interest rates and related charges and may impose significant restrictions on the use of borrowed funds to fund investments or maintain distributions to stockholders.
Because we expect to distribute substantially all of our Investment Company Taxable Income, at least 90%, on an annual basis, our business plan is dependent upon external financing, which is constrained by the limitations of the 1940 Act.
There can be no assurance that we will be able to raise capital through issuing equity in the near future. Our business requires a substantial amount of cash to operate and grow. We may acquire such additional capital from the following sources:
Senior Securities: We may issue "senior securities representing indebtedness" (including borrowings under the Credit Facility, our 5.00% 2026 Notes, our 4.875% 2028 Notes and our 8.00% 2028 Notes) and "senior securities that are stock", up to the maximum amount permitted by the 1940 Act. The 1940 Act currently permits us, as a BDC, to issue senior securities representing indebtedness and senior securities which are stock, in amounts such that our asset coverage, as defined in Section 18(h) of the 1940 Act, is at least 150% on each such senior security immediately after each issuance of each such senior security. As a result of issuing senior securities (in whatever form), we will be exposed to the risks associated with leverage. Although borrowing money for investments increases the potential for gain, it also increases the risk of a loss. A decrease in the value of our investments will have a greater impact on the value of our common stock to the extent that we have borrowed money to make investments. There is a possibility that the costs of borrowing could exceed the income we receive on the investments we make with such borrowed funds. In addition, our ability to pay distributions, issue senior securities or repurchase shares of our common stock would be restricted if the asset coverage on each of our senior securities is not at least 150%. If the aggregate fair value of our assets declines, we might be unable to satisfy that 150% requirement. To satisfy the 150% asset coverage requirement in the event that we are seeking to pay a distribution, we might either have to (i) liquidate a portion of our loan portfolio to repay a portion of our indebtedness or (ii) issue common stock. This may occur at a time when a sale of a portfolio asset may be disadvantageous, or when we have limited access to capital markets on agreeable terms. In addition, any amounts that we use to service our indebtedness, pay dividends on our preferred stock or for offering costs will not be available for distributions to common stockholders. Pursuant to Section 61(a)(3) of the 1940 Act, we are permitted, under specified conditions, to issue multiple classes of "senior securities representing indebtedness". However, pursuant to Section 18(c) of the 1940 Act, we are permitted to issue only one class of "senior securities that are stock".
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Common and Convertible Preferred Stock: Because we are constrained in our ability to issue debt or senior securities for the reasons given above, we may at times be dependent on the issuance of equity as a financing source. If we raise additional funds by issuing more common stock, the percentage ownership of our common stockholders at the time of the issuance would decrease and our existing common stockholders may experience dilution. In addition, under the 1940 Act, we will generally not be able to issue additional shares of our common stock at a price below NAV per common share to purchasers, other than to our existing common stockholders through a rights offering, without first obtaining the approval of our stockholders and our independent directors. If we were to sell shares of our common stock below our then current NAV per common share, such sales would result in an immediate dilution to the NAV per common share. This dilution would occur as a result of the sale of common shares at a price below the then current NAV per share of our common stock and a proportionately greater decrease in a common stockholder’s interest in our earnings and assets and voting percentage than the increase in our assets resulting from such issuance. For example, if we issue and sell an additional 10% of our common stock at a 5% discount from NAV, a common stockholder who does not participate in that offering for its proportionate interest will suffer NAV dilution of up to 0.5% or $5 per $1,000 of NAV. This imposes constraints on our ability to raise capital when our common stock is trading below NAV per common share, as it generally has for the last several years. As noted above, the 1940 Act prohibits the issuance of multiple classes of "senior securities that are stock".
We financed certain of our investments with borrowed money and capital from the issuance of senior securities, which will magnify the potential for gain or loss on amounts invested and may increase the risk of investing in us.
The use of leverage, including through the issuance of senior securities that are debt or stock, magnifies the potential for gain or loss on amounts invested and, if we incur additional leverage, this potential will be further magnified. We have incurred leverage in the past and currently incur leverage through the Credit Facility, the 5.00% 2026 Notes, the 4.875% 2028 Notes and the 8.00% 2028 Notes and, from time to time, may incur additional leverage to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act. The use of leverage is generally considered a speculative investment technique and increases the risks associated with investing in our securities. In the future, we may borrow from, and issue senior securities to, banks and other lenders. Holders of these senior securities will have fixed dollar claims on our assets that are superior to the claims of our common stockholders, and we would expect such holders to seek recovery against our assets in the event of a default.
The following table illustrates the effect of leverage on returns from an investment in our common stock assuming various annual returns on our portfolio, net of expenses. The calculations in the table below are hypothetical and actual returns may be higher or lower than those appearing in the table below.
Assumed Return on Our Portfolio (Net of Expenses)
(10)%(5)%0%5%10%
Corresponding return to common stockholder(A)
(24.07)%(14.55)%(5.03)%4.49%14.01%
(A)The hypothetical return to common stockholders is calculated by multiplying our total assets as of March 31, 2024 by the assumed rates of return and subtracting all interest on our debt expected to be paid during the twelve months following March 31, 2024, and then dividing the resulting difference by our total net assets attributable to common stock as of March 31, 2024. Based on $938.1 million in total assets, $67.0 million of borrowings outstanding on the Credit Facility, $127.9 million of 5.00% 2026 Notes, at cost, $134.6 million of 4.875% 2028 Notes, at cost, $74.8 million of 8.00% 2028 Notes, at cost, and $492.7 million in net assets as of March 31, 2024.
Based on an aggregate outstanding indebtedness of $404.2 million, at cost, as of March 31, 2024, the effective annual cash interest rate of 6.1% as of that date, our investment portfolio at fair value would have to produce an annual return of at least 2.7% to cover annual interest payments on the outstanding debt.
Risks Related to Our Regulation and Structure
We will be subject to corporate-level tax if we are unable to satisfy the Code requirements for RIC qualification.
To maintain our qualification as a RIC, we must maintain our status as a BDC and meet annual distribution, income source, and asset diversification requirements. The annual distribution requirement is satisfied if we distribute at least 90% of our Investment Company Taxable Income to our stockholders on an annual basis. Because we use leverage, we are subject to certain asset coverage ratio requirements under the 1940 Act and could, under certain circumstances, be restricted from making distributions necessary to qualify as a RIC. Warrants we may receive with respect to debt investments generally
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create original issue discount (“OID”), which we must recognize as ordinary income over the term of the debt investment. Similarly, PIK interest which is accrued generally over the term of the debt investment but not paid in cash, is recognized as ordinary income. Both OID and PIK interest will increase the amounts we are required to distribute to maintain our RIC status. Because such OIDs and PIK interest will not produce distributable cash for us at the same time as we are required to make distributions, we will need to use cash from other sources to satisfy such distribution requirements. As of March 31, 2024, we did not have investments with OID or a PIK feature. Additionally, we must meet asset diversification and income source requirements at the end of each calendar quarter. If we fail to meet these tests, we may need to quickly dispose of certain investments to prevent the loss of RIC status. Since most of our investments will be illiquid, such dispositions, if even possible, may not be made at prices advantageous to us and may result in substantial losses. If we fail to qualify as a RIC as of a calendar quarter or annually for any reason and become fully subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax, the resulting corporate taxes could substantially reduce our net assets, the amount of income available for distribution, and the actual amount distributed. Such a failure would have a material adverse effect on us and our common stock.
Some of our debt investments may include success fees that would generally generate payments to us upon a change of control. Because the satisfaction of these success fees, and the ultimate payment of these fees, is uncertain and highly contingent, we generally only recognize them as income when the payment is received. Success fee amounts are characterized as ordinary income for tax purposes and, as a result, we are required to distribute such amounts to our stockholders to maintain our RIC status.
If we do not invest a sufficient portion of our assets in “qualifying assets,” we could fail to qualify as a BDC under the 1940 Act or be precluded from investing according to our current business strategy.
As a BDC, we may not acquire any assets other than “qualifying assets” unless, at the time of and after giving effect to such acquisition, at least 70% of our total assets, exclusive of Operating Assets, are qualifying assets, as defined in Section 55(a) of the 1940 Act.
We believe that most of the investments that we may acquire in the future will constitute qualifying assets. However, we may be precluded from investing in what we believe to be attractive investments if such investments are not qualifying assets for purposes of the 1940 Act. If we do not invest a sufficient portion of our assets in qualifying assets, we could violate the 1940 Act provisions applicable to BDCs. As a result of such violation, specific rules under the 1940 Act could prevent us, for example, from making follow-on investments in existing portfolio companies (which could result in the dilution of our position) or could require us to dispose of investments at inappropriate times to come into compliance with the 1940 Act. If we need to dispose of such investments quickly, it could be difficult to dispose of such investments on favorable terms. We may not be able to find a buyer for such investments and, even if we do find a buyer, we may have to sell the investments at a substantial loss. Any such outcomes would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
If we do not maintain our status as a BDC, we would be subject to regulation as a registered closed-end investment company under the 1940 Act. As a registered closed-end investment company, we would be subject to substantially more regulatory restrictions under the 1940 Act, which would significantly decrease our operating flexibility. Refer to “Business — Regulation as a BDC — Qualifying Assets” for additional information regarding qualifying assets.
Provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law and of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws could restrict a change in control and have an adverse impact on the price of our common stock.
We are subject to provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law that, in general, prohibit any business combination with a beneficial owner of 15% or more of our common stock for three years unless the holder’s acquisition of our stock was either approved in advance by our Board of Directors or ratified by our Board of Directors and stockholders owning two-thirds of our outstanding stock not owned by the acquiring holder. Although we believe these provisions collectively provide for an opportunity to receive higher bids by requiring potential acquirers to negotiate with our Board of Directors, they would apply even if the offer may be considered beneficial by some stockholders.
We have also adopted other measures that may make it difficult for a third party to obtain control of us, including provisions of our certificate of incorporation classifying our Board of Directors in three classes serving staggered three-year terms, and provisions of our certificate of incorporation authorizing our Board of Directors to induce the issuance of additional shares of our stock. These provisions, as well as other provisions of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, may delay, defer, or prevent a transaction or a change in control that might otherwise be in the best interests of our stockholders.
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We may not be permitted to declare a dividend or make any distribution to stockholders or repurchase shares until such time as we satisfy the asset coverage tests under the provisions of the 1940 Act that apply to BDCs.
Regulations governing our operation as a BDC and RIC will affect our ability to raise, and the way in which we raise, additional capital or borrow for investment purposes, which may have a negative effect on our growth. As a result of the annual distribution requirement to qualify as a RIC, we may need to periodically access the capital markets to raise cash to fund new investments. We may issue senior securities representing indebtedness, including borrowing money from banks or other financial institutions, or senior securities that are stock, only in amounts such that our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, equals at least 150% after each such incurrence or issuance. Further, we may not be permitted to declare a dividend or make any distribution to our outstanding stockholders or repurchase shares until such time as we satisfy this test. Our ability to issue different types of securities is also limited. Compliance with these requirements may unfavorably limit our investment opportunities and reduce our ability in comparison to other companies to profit from favorable spreads between the rates at which we can borrow and the rates at which we can lend. As a BDC, therefore, we may issue equity at a rate more frequent than our privately owned competitors, which may lead to greater stockholder dilution. We have incurred leverage to generate capital to make additional investments. If the value of our assets declines, we may be unable to satisfy the asset coverage test under the 1940 Act, which could prohibit us from paying distributions and could prevent us from qualifying as a RIC. If we cannot satisfy the asset coverage test, we may be required to sell a portion of our investments and, depending on the nature of our debt financing, repay a portion of our indebtedness at a time when such sales and repayments may be disadvantageous. Such events, if they were to occur, could have a significant adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.
Risks Related to Our External Management
We are dependent upon our key management personnel and the key management personnel of the Adviser, particularly David Gladstone, David Dullum and Terry Lee Brubaker, and on the continued operations of the Adviser, for our future success.
We have no employees. Our chief executive officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer and treasurer, chief valuation officer, and the employees of the Adviser do not spend all of their time managing our activities and our investment portfolio. We are particularly dependent upon David Gladstone, David Dullum and Terry Lee Brubaker for their experience, skills, and networks. Our executive officers and the employees of the Adviser allocate some, and in some cases a material portion, of their time to businesses and activities that are not related to our business. We have no separate facilities and are completely reliant on the Adviser, which has significant discretion as to the implementation and execution of our business strategies and risk management practices. We are subject to the risk of discontinuation of the Adviser’s operations or termination of the Advisory Agreement and the risk that, upon such event, no suitable replacement will be found. We believe that our success depends to a significant extent upon the Adviser and that discontinuation of its operations or the loss of its key management personnel could have a material adverse effect on our ability to achieve our investment objectives.
Our success depends on the Adviser’s ability to attract and retain qualified personnel in a competitive environment.
The Adviser experiences competition in attracting and retaining qualified personnel, particularly investment professionals and senior executives, and we may be unable to maintain or grow our business if we cannot attract and retain such personnel. The Adviser’s ability to attract and retain personnel with the requisite credentials, experience and skills depends on several factors including, its ability to offer competitive wages, benefits and professional growth opportunities. The Adviser competes with investment funds (such as private equity funds and mezzanine funds) and traditional financial services companies for qualified personnel, many of which have greater resources than us. Searches for qualified personnel may divert management’s time from the operation of our business. Strain on the existing personnel resources of the Adviser, in the event that it is unable to attract experienced investment professionals and senior executives, could have a material adverse effect on our business.
The Adviser can resign on 60 days’ notice, and we may not be able to find a suitable replacement within that time, resulting in a disruption in our operations that could adversely affect our financial condition, business and results of operations.
The Adviser has the right to resign under the Advisory Agreement at any time upon not less than 60 days’ written notice, whether we have found a replacement or not. If the Adviser resigns, we may not be able to find a new investment adviser or hire internal management with similar expertise and ability to provide the same or equivalent services on acceptable
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terms within 60 days, or at all. If we are unable to do so quickly, our operations are likely to experience a disruption, our financial condition, business and results of operations as well as our ability to pay distributions are likely to be adversely affected and the market price of our common stock may decline. In addition, the coordination of our internal management and investment activities is likely to suffer if we are unable to identify and reach an agreement with a single institution or group of executives having the expertise possessed by the Adviser and its affiliates. Even if we are able to retain comparable management, whether internal or external, the integration of such management and their lack of familiarity with our investment objectives may result in additional costs and time delays that may adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
The Adviser’s liability is limited under the Advisory Agreement, and we are required to indemnify our investment adviser against certain liabilities, which may lead the Adviser to act in a riskier manner on our behalf than it would when acting for its own account.
The Adviser has not assumed any responsibility to us other than to render the services described in the Advisory Agreement, and it will not be responsible for any action of our Board of Directors in declining to follow the Adviser’s advice or recommendations. Pursuant to the Advisory Agreement, the Adviser and its officers, managers, partners, agents, employees, controlling persons, members and any other person or entity affiliated with the Adviser will not be liable to us for their acts under the Advisory Agreement, absent willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence in the performance of their duties or by reason of the reckless disregard of their duties and obligations under the Advisory Agreement. We have agreed to indemnify, defend and protect the Adviser and its officers, managers, partners, agents, employees, controlling persons, members and any other person or entity affiliated with the Adviser with respect to all damages, liabilities, costs and expenses arising out of or otherwise based upon the performance of any of the Adviser’s duties or obligations under the Advisory Agreement or otherwise as an investment adviser for us, and not arising out of willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence in the performance of their duties or by reason of the reckless disregard of their duties and obligations under the Advisory Agreement. These protections may lead the Adviser to act in a riskier manner when acting on our behalf than it would when acting for its own account.
Our incentive fee may induce the Adviser to make certain investments, including speculative investments.
The management compensation structure that has been implemented under the Advisory Agreement may cause the Adviser to invest in high-risk investments or take other investment risks. In addition to its management fee, the Adviser is entitled under the Advisory Agreement to receive incentive compensation based in part upon our achievement of specified levels of income. In evaluating investments and other management strategies, the opportunity to earn incentive compensation based on net investment income may lead the Adviser to place undue emphasis on the maximization of net investment income at the expense of other criteria, such as preservation of capital, maintaining sufficient liquidity, or management of credit risk or market risk, to achieve higher incentive compensation. Investments with higher yield potential are generally riskier or more speculative. This could result in increased risk to the value of our investment portfolio.
We may be obligated to pay the Adviser incentive compensation even if we incur a net decrease in net assets.
The Advisory Agreement entitles the Adviser to incentive compensation for each fiscal quarter in an amount equal to a percentage of the excess of our net investment income for that quarter (before deducting the incentive fee) above a threshold return of 1.75% of our net assets, as adjusted, for that quarter. When calculating our incentive fee, our pre-incentive fee net investment income excludes realized losses and unrealized depreciation that we may incur in the fiscal quarter, even if such losses or depreciation result in a net decrease in net assets on our statement of operations for that quarter. Thus, we may be required to pay the Adviser incentive compensation for a fiscal quarter even if there is a decline in the value of our portfolio or we incur a net realized or unrealized loss for that quarter. For additional information on incentive compensation under the Advisory Agreement with the Adviser, see “Business — Investment Advisory and Management Agreement.”
We may be required to pay the Adviser incentive compensation on income accrued, but not yet received in cash.
The part of the incentive fee payable by us that relates to our net investment income is computed and paid on income that may include income that has been accrued but not yet received in cash, such as debt instruments with PIK interest. If a portfolio company defaults on a loan, it is possible that such accrued interest previously used in the calculation of the incentive fee will become uncollectible. Consequently, we may make incentive fee payments on income accruals that we may not collect in the future and with respect to which we do not have a clawback right against the Adviser.
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The Adviser’s failure to identify and invest in securities that meet our investment criteria or perform its responsibilities under the Advisory Agreement would likely adversely affect our ability for future growth.
Our ability to achieve our investment objectives will depend on our ability to grow, which in turn will depend on the Adviser’s ability to identify and invest in securities that meet our investment criteria. Accomplishing this result on a cost-effective basis will be largely a function of the Adviser’s structuring of the investment process, its ability to provide competent and efficient services to us, and our access to financing on acceptable terms. The Adviser’s senior management team has substantial responsibilities under the Advisory Agreement. To grow, the Adviser will need to hire, train, supervise, and manage new employees successfully. Any failure to manage our future growth effectively would likely have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.
There are significant potential conflicts of interest, including with the Adviser, which could impact our investment returns.
Our executive officers and directors, and the officers and directors of the Adviser, serve or may serve as officers, directors, or principals of entities that operate in the same or a related line of business as we do or of investment funds managed by our 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. For example, Mr. Gladstone, our chairman and chief executive officer, is the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the Adviser and Administrator, and the Affiliated Public Funds. In addition, Mr. Brubaker, our chief operating officer, is also the vice chairman and chief operating officer of the Adviser and Administrator, and chief operating officer of the Affiliated Public Funds. Mr. Dullum, our president, is also an executive vice president of the Adviser. While portfolio managers and the officers and other employees of the Adviser devote as much time to the management of us as appropriate to enable the Adviser to perform its duties in accordance with the Advisory Agreement, the portfolio managers and other of the Adviser's officers may have conflicts in allocating their time and services among us, on the one hand, and other investment vehicles managed by the Adviser, on the other hand. These activities could be viewed as creating a conflict of interest insofar as the time and effort of the portfolio managers and the officers and employees of the Adviser will not be devoted exclusively to our business but will instead be allocated between our business and the management of these other investment vehicles. Moreover, the Adviser may establish or sponsor other investment vehicles which from time to time may have potentially overlapping investment objectives with ours and accordingly may invest in, whether principally or secondarily, asset classes we target. While the Adviser generally has broad authority to make investments on behalf of the investment vehicles that it advises, the Adviser has adopted investment allocation procedures to address these potential conflicts and intends to direct investment opportunities to the Company or the Affiliated Public Fund with the investment strategy that most closely fits the investment opportunity. Nevertheless, the management of the Adviser may face conflicts in the allocation of investment opportunities to other entities it manages. As a result, it is possible that we may not be given the opportunity to participate in certain investments made by other funds managed by the Adviser.
In certain circumstances, we may make investments in a portfolio company in which one of our affiliates has or will have an investment, subject to satisfaction of any regulatory restrictions and, where required, the prior approval of our Board of Directors. As of March 31, 2024, our Board of Directors has approved the following types of transactions:
Our affiliate, Gladstone Commercial, may, under certain circumstances, lease property to portfolio companies that we do not control. We may pursue such transactions only if (i) the portfolio company is not controlled by us or any of our affiliates, (ii) the portfolio company satisfies the tenant underwriting criteria of Gladstone Commercial, and (iii) the transaction is approved by a majority of our independent directors and a majority of the independent directors of Gladstone Commercial. We expect that any such negotiations between Gladstone Commercial and our portfolio companies would result in lease terms consistent with the terms that the portfolio companies would be likely to receive were they not portfolio companies of ours.
Pursuant to the Co-Investment Order, we may co-invest, under certain circumstances, with certain of our affiliates, including Gladstone Capital and any future BDC or closed-end management investment company that is advised (or sub-advised if it controls the fund) by the Adviser, or any combination of the foregoing subject to the conditions in the Co-Investment Order.
Certain of our officers, who are also officers of the Adviser, may from time to time serve as directors of certain of our portfolio companies. If an officer serves in such capacity for one of our portfolio companies, such officer will owe fiduciary duties to stockholders of the portfolio company, which duties may from time to time conflict with the interests of our stockholders.
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In the course of our investing activities, we will pay management and incentive fees to the Adviser and will reimburse the Administrator for certain expenses it incurs. As a result, 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 through our investors themselves making direct investments. As a result of this arrangement, there may be times when the management team of the Adviser has interests that differ from those of our stockholders, giving rise to a conflict. In addition, as a BDC, we make available significant managerial assistance to our portfolio companies and provide other services to such portfolio companies. While neither we nor the Adviser currently receive fees in connection with managerial assistance, the Adviser and Gladstone Securities have, at various times, provided other services to certain of our portfolio companies and received fees for these other services.
The Adviser is not obligated to provide credits of the base management fee or incentive fees, which could negatively impact our earnings and our ability to maintain our current level of distributions to our stockholders.
The Advisory Agreement provides for a base management fee, based on our gross assets, and an incentive fee, that is based on our income and capital gains. Our Board of Directors has accepted in the past and may accept in the future non-contractual, unconditional, and irrevocable credits to reduce the annual 2.0% base management fee or the incentive fee, on a quarterly or annual basis. Any fees credited may not be recouped by the Adviser in the future. However, the Adviser is not required to issue these or other credits of fees under the Advisory Agreement. If the Adviser does not issue these credits in the future, it could negatively impact our earnings and may compromise our ability to maintain our current level of distributions to our stockholders, which could have a material adverse impact on our common stock price.
Our business model is dependent upon developing and sustaining strong referral relationships with investment bankers, business brokers and other intermediaries and any change in our referral relationships may impact our business plan.
We are dependent upon informal relationships with investment bankers, business brokers and traditional lending institutions to provide us with deal flow. If we fail to maintain our relationship with such funds or institutions, or if we fail to establish strong referral relationships with other funds, we will not be able to grow our portfolio of investments and fully execute our business plan.
Our base management fee may induce the Adviser to incur leverage.
The fact that our base management fee is payable based upon our gross assets, which would include any investments made with proceeds of borrowings, may encourage the Adviser to use leverage to make additional investments. Under certain circumstances, the use of increased leverage may increase the likelihood of default, which would disfavor holders of our securities. Given the subjective nature of the investment decisions made by the Adviser on our behalf, we will not be able to monitor this potential conflict of interest.
Risks Related to an Investment in Our Securities
There is a risk that you may not receive distributions or that distributions may not grow over time.
Our current intention is to distribute up to 100% of our Investment Company Taxable Income to our stockholders by paying monthly distributions. We may retain some or all of our net realized long-term capital gains, if any, and designate them as deemed distributions to supplement our equity capital and support the growth of our portfolio, although our Board of Directors may determine to distribute these net realized long-term capital gains to our stockholders in cash. In addition, the Credit Facility restricts the amount of distributions we are permitted to make annually. We cannot assure investors that we will achieve investment results or maintain a tax status that will allow or require any specified level of cash distributions.
Investing in our securities may involve an above average degree of risk.
The investments we make in accordance with our investment objectives may result in a higher amount of risk than alternative investment options and a higher risk of volatility or loss of principal. Our investments in portfolio companies may be highly speculative, and therefore, an investment in our securities may not be suitable for someone with lower risk tolerance.
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Distributions to our common stockholders have included and may in the future include a return of capital.
Our Board of Directors declares monthly common distributions each quarter based on estimates of Investment Company Taxable Income and capital gains for each fiscal year, which may differ, and in the past have differed, from actual results. Because our common distributions are based on estimates of Investment Company Taxable Income and capital gains that may differ from actual results, future common distributions payable to our common stockholders may include a return of capital. To the extent that we distribute amounts that exceed our accumulated earnings and profits, these distributions constitute a return of capital to the extent of the common stockholder’s adjusted tax basis in its shares of our common stock. A return of capital represents a return of a common stockholder’s original investment in shares of our common stock and should not be confused with a distribution from earnings and profits. Although return of capital distributions may not be taxable, such distributions may increase an investor’s tax liability for capital gains upon the sale of our common stock by reducing the investor’s tax basis in its shares of our common stock. Such returns of capital reduce our asset base and also adversely impact our ability to raise debt capital as a result of the leverage restrictions under the 1940 Act, which could have a material adverse impact on our ability to make new investments.
Common stockholders may incur dilution if we sell shares of our common stock in one or more offerings at prices below the then current NAV per share.
Absent stockholder approval, we are not able to access the capital markets in an offering of our securities at prices below the then-current NAV per share, due to restrictions applicable to BDCs under the 1940 Act. Should we decide to issue shares of common stock at a price below NAV per share in the future, we will seek the requisite approval of our stockholders at such time.
If we were to sell shares of our common stock below NAV per share, such sales would result in an immediate dilution to the NAV per share. This dilution would occur as a result of the sale of shares at a price below the then current NAV per share of our common stock and a proportionately greater decrease in a common stockholder’s interest in our earnings and assets and voting interest in us than the increase in our assets resulting from such issuance. The greater the difference between the sale price and the NAV per share at the time of the offering, the more significant the dilutive impact would be. 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, if any, cannot be currently predicted. However, if, for example, we sold an additional 10% of our common stock at a 5% discount from NAV, an existing common stockholder who did not participate in that offering for its proportionate interest would suffer NAV dilution of up to 0.5% or $5 per $1,000 of NAV.
Risks Related to the 5.00% 2026 Notes, 4.875% 2028 Notes and 8.00% 2028 Notes (collectively, the "Notes")
The Notes are unsecured and therefore are effectively subordinated to any secured indebtedness we may incur in the future and will rank pari passu with, or equal to, all outstanding and future unsecured indebtedness issued by us and our general liabilities (total liabilities, less debt).
The Notes are not secured by any of our assets or any of the assets of our subsidiaries. As a result, the Notes are effectively subordinated to any secured indebtedness we may incur in the future (or any indebtedness that is initially unsecured to which we subsequently grant security) to the extent of the value of the assets securing such indebtedness. In any liquidation, dissolution, bankruptcy or other similar proceeding, the holders of any of our existing or future secured indebtedness and the secured indebtedness of our subsidiaries may assert rights against the assets pledged to secure that indebtedness to receive full payment of their indebtedness before the assets may be used to pay other creditors, including the holders of the Notes. In addition, the Notes will rank pari passu with, or equal to, all outstanding and future unsecured indebtedness issued by us and our general liabilities (total liabilities, less debt).
The Notes are structurally subordinated to the indebtedness and other liabilities of our subsidiaries.
The Notes are obligations exclusively of the Company and not of any of our subsidiaries. None of our subsidiaries is a guarantor of the Notes and the Notes are not required to be guaranteed by any subsidiaries we may acquire or create in the future. Except to the extent we are a creditor with recognized claims against our subsidiaries, all claims of creditors of our subsidiaries will have priority over our equity interests in such subsidiaries (and therefore the claims of our creditors, including holders of the Notes) with respect to the assets of such subsidiaries. Even if we are recognized as a creditor of one or more of our subsidiaries, our claims would still be effectively subordinated to any security interests in the assets of any such subsidiary and to any indebtedness or other liabilities of any such subsidiary senior to our claims. Consequently, the Notes are structurally subordinated to all indebtedness and other liabilities of any of our subsidiaries and any
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subsidiaries that we may in the future acquire or establish. Our wholly-owned subsidiary, Business Investment, is the obligor under our Credit Facility, which is structurally senior to the Notes. In addition, our subsidiaries may incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future, all of which would be structurally senior to the Notes.
The indenture under which the Notes were issued contains limited protection for holders of the Notes.
The indenture under which the Notes were issued offers limited protection to holders of the Notes. The terms of the indenture and the Notes do not restrict our or any of our subsidiaries’ ability to engage in, or otherwise be a party to, a variety of corporate transactions, circumstances or events that could have an adverse impact on your investment in the Notes. In particular, the terms of the indenture and the Notes do not place any restrictions on our or our subsidiaries’ ability to:
issue securities or otherwise incur additional indebtedness or other obligations, including (1) any indebtedness or other obligations that would be equal in right of payment to the Notes, (2) any indebtedness or other obligations that would be secured and therefore rank effectively senior in right of payment to the Notes to the extent of the values of the assets securing such debt, (3) indebtedness of ours that is guaranteed by one or more of our subsidiaries and which therefore is structurally senior to the Notes and (4) securities, indebtedness or obligations issued or incurred by our subsidiaries that would be senior to our equity interests in our subsidiaries and therefore rank structurally senior to the Notes with respect to the assets of our subsidiaries, in each case other than an incurrence of indebtedness or other obligation that would cause a violation of Section 18(a)(1)(A) as modified by Section 61(a)(2) of the 1940 Act or any successor provisions, whether or not we continue to be subject to such provisions of the 1940 Act, which generally prohibit us incurring additional debt or issuing additional debt or preferred securities, unless our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, equals at least 150% after such incurrence or issuance;
pay dividends on, or purchase or redeem or make any payments in respect of, capital stock or other securities ranking junior in right of payment to the Notes, including preferred stock and any subordinated indebtedness, in each case other than dividends, purchases, redemptions or payments that would cause our asset coverage to fall below the threshold specified in Section 18(a)(1)(B) as modified by Section 61(a)(2) of the 1940 Act or any successor provisions thereto, whether or not we are subject to such provisions of the 1940 Act, giving effect to any no-action relief granted by the SEC to another BDC and upon which we may reasonably rely (or to us if we determine to seek such similar SEC no-action or other relief) permitting the BDC to declare any cash dividend or distribution notwithstanding the prohibition contained in Section 18(a)(1)(B) as modified by Section 61(a)(2) of the 1940 Act to maintain the BDC’s status as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code;
sell assets (other than certain limited restrictions on our ability to consolidate, merge or sell all or substantially all of our assets);
enter into transactions with affiliates;
create liens (including liens on the shares of our subsidiaries) or enter into sale and leaseback transactions;
make investments; or
create restrictions on the payment of dividends or other amounts to us from our subsidiaries.
In addition, the indenture and the Notes do not require us to make an offer to purchase the Notes in connection with a change of control or any other event.
Furthermore, the terms of the indenture and the Notes do not protect holders of the Notes in the event that we experience changes (including significant adverse changes) in our financial condition, results of operations or credit ratings, if any, as they do not require that we or our subsidiaries adhere to any financial tests or ratios or specified levels of net worth, revenues, income, cash flow, or liquidity.
Our ability to recapitalize, incur additional debt (including additional debt that matures prior to the maturity of the Notes) and take a number of other actions that are not limited by the terms of the Notes may have important consequences for you as a holder of the Notes, including making it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to the Notes or negatively affecting the trading value of the Notes.
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Other debt we issue or incur in the future could contain more protections for its holders than the indenture and the Notes, including additional covenants and events of default. The issuance or incurrence of any such debt with incremental protections could affect the market for, trading levels, and prices of the Notes.
An active trading market for the Notes may not exist, which could limit your ability to sell the Notes or affect the market price of the Notes.
An active trading market for the Notes may not exist in the future and holders may not be able to sell their Notes. Even if an active trading market does exist, the Notes may trade at a discount from their initial offering price depending on prevailing interest rates, the market for similar securities, our credit ratings, if any, general economic conditions, our financial condition, performance and prospects and other factors. To the extent an active trading market does not exist, the liquidity and trading price for the Notes may be harmed. Accordingly, holders of the Notes may be required to bear the financial risk of an investment in the Notes for an indefinite period of time.
If we default on our obligations to pay our other indebtedness, we may not be able to make payments on the Notes.
Any default under the agreements governing our indebtedness, including a default under the Credit Facility or other indebtedness to which we may be a party, that is not waived by the required lenders or holders, and the remedies sought by the holders of such indebtedness could make us unable to pay principal, premium, if any, and interest on the Notes and substantially decrease the market value of the Notes. If we are unable to generate sufficient cash flow and are otherwise unable to obtain funds necessary to meet required payments of principal, premium, if any, and interest on our indebtedness, or if we otherwise fail to comply with the various covenants, including financial and operating covenants, in the instruments governing our indebtedness, we could be in default under the terms of the agreements governing such indebtedness, including the Notes. In the event of such default, the holders of such indebtedness could elect to declare all the funds borrowed thereunder to be due and payable, together with accrued and unpaid interest, the lenders under the Credit Facility or other debt we may incur in the future could elect to terminate their commitments, cease making further loans and institute foreclosure proceedings against our assets, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation. If our operating performance declines, we may in the future need to refinance or restructure our debt, including the Notes, sell assets, reduce or delay capital investments, seek to raise additional capital or seek to obtain waivers from the required lenders under the Credit Facility or other debt that we may incur in the future to avoid being in default. If we are unable to implement one or more of these alternatives, we may not be able to meet our payment obligations under the Notes or our other debt. If we breach our covenants under the Credit Facility or other debt and seek a waiver, we may not be able to obtain a waiver from the required lenders or holders. If this occurs, we would be in default under the Credit Facility or other debt, the lenders or holders could exercise their rights as described above, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation. If we are unable to repay debt, lenders having secured obligations, including the lenders under the Credit Facility, could proceed against the collateral securing the debt. Because the Credit Facility has, and any future credit facilities will likely have, customary cross-default provisions, if the indebtedness under the Notes or the Credit Facility or under any future credit facility is accelerated, we may be unable to repay or finance the amounts due.
We may choose to redeem the Notes when prevailing interest rates are relatively low.
At any time with respect to the 5.00% 2026 Notes and the 4.875% 2028 Notes and on or after August 1, 2025, with respect to the 8.00% 2028 Notes, we may choose to redeem the Notes from time to time, especially if prevailing interest rates are lower than the rate borne by the Notes. If prevailing rates are lower at the time of redemption, and we redeem the Notes, you likely would not be able to reinvest the redemption proceeds in a comparable security at an effective interest rate as high as the interest rate on the Notes being redeemed. Our redemption right also may adversely impact your ability to sell the Notes as the optional redemption date or period approaches.
A downgrade, suspension or withdrawal of any credit rating assigned by a rating agency to us or the Notes could cause the liquidity or market value of the Notes to decline significantly.
Any credit rating is an assessment by the assigning rating agency of our ability to pay our debts when due. Consequently, real or anticipated changes in any credit ratings will generally affect the market value of the Notes. These credit ratings may not reflect the potential impact of risks relating to the structure or marketing of the Notes. Credit ratings are not a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any security, and may be revised or withdrawn at any time by the issuing organization in its sole discretion. There can be no assurance that any credit ratings will remain for any given period of time or that such credit ratings will not be lowered or withdrawn entirely by the rating agencies if in their judgment future circumstances relating to the basis of the credit ratings, such as adverse changes in our Company, so warrant.
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General Risk Factors
Cybersecurity risks and cyber incidents may adversely affect our business by causing a disruption to our operations, or the operations of businesses in which we invest, a compromise or corruption of our confidential information and/or damage to our business relationships, all of which could negatively impact our business, financial condition and operating results.
Maintaining our network security is of critical importance because our systems store highly confidential financial models and portfolio company information. Although we have implemented, and will continue to implement, security measures, our technology platform may be vulnerable to intrusion, computer viruses or similar disruptive problems caused by cyber-attacks, including those employing artificial intelligence. A cyber incident is considered to be any adverse event that threatens the confidentiality, integrity or availability of our information resources or those of 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. 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 our business relationships or those of our portfolio companies. 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 to us by third-party service providers, and the information systems of our portfolio companies. We have implemented processes, procedures and internal controls to help mitigate 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, any such incident, disruption or other loss of information could result in legal claims or proceedings, liability under laws that protect the privacy of personal information, and regulatory penalties, disrupt our operations, and damage our and our Adviser’s reputations, resulting in a loss of confidence in our services and our Adviser’s services, which could adversely affect our business.

We are subject to risks associated with artificial intelligence and machine learning technology.

Recent technological advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning technology pose risks to our Company and our portfolio companies. Our Company and our portfolio companies could be exposed to the risks of artificial intelligence and machine learning technology if third-party service providers or any counterparties, whether or not known to our Company, also use artificial intelligence and machine learning technology in their business activities. We and our portfolio companies may not be in a position to control the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning technology in third-party products or services.

Use of artificial intelligence and machine learning technology could include the input of confidential information in contravention of applicable policies, contractual or other obligations or restrictions, resulting in such confidential information becoming partly accessible by other third-party artificial intelligence and machine learning technology applications and users.

Independent of its context of use, artificial intelligence and machine learning technology is generally highly reliant on the collection and analysis of large amounts of data, and it is not possible or practicable to incorporate all relevant data into the model that artificial intelligence and machine learning technology utilizes to operate. Certain data in such models will inevitably contain a degree of inaccuracy and error—potentially materially so—and could otherwise be inadequate or flawed, which would be likely to degrade the effectiveness of artificial intelligence and machine learning technology. To the extent that we or our portfolio companies are exposed to the risks of artificial intelligence and machine learning technology use, any such inaccuracies or errors could have adverse impacts on our Company or our investments.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning technology and its applications, including in the private investment and financial sectors, continue to develop rapidly, and it is impossible to predict the future risks that may arise from such developments.

We are subject to risks related to corporate social responsibility.

Our business (including that of our portfolio companies) faces increasing public scrutiny related to environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) activities, which are increasingly considered to contribute to the long-term sustainability of a company’s performance. A variety of organizations measure the performance of companies on ESG topics, and the results of these assessments are widely publicized. Adverse incidents with respect to ESG activities could impact the value of our brand, our relationship with future portfolio companies, the co