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Sponsor Finance

Sponsor Finance Group

First Merchants Bank Sponsor Finance is built to support private equity firms. Our focus is to eliminate your execution risk. As a cash flow lender, we enable private equity sponsor buyouts, acquisitions, refinancings and recapitalizations.

We believe the senior credit facility should be the easiest piece of the capital structure to assemble. Too often, that isn’t the case. Combining your diligence, our experienced team and a streamlined approval process allows us to respond quickly and provide certainty of close. Also, clear underwriting guidelines provide you clarity on what structure will work for your next opportunity. 

Clients look to us when they need

A cash flow focused senior lender who can support them on acquisitions from coast to coast

Consistent capitalization, pricing and amortization in bull and bear markets alike

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Timely and transparent communication of terms and expectations


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Efficient and seamless transaction execution and reliable deal closing

Target Companies

  • U.S.-Based
  • Greater than $2 million EBITDA
  • Greater than $10 million revenue
  • Industry agnostic
  • Strong free cash flow

Loan Characteristics

  • Cash flow-based
  • Five-year term/10-year amortization
  • Hold up to $25 million commitment
  • Syndicate up to $50 million commitment
  • Stock pledge required

Our deal team has worked with private equity firms on new business, underwriting and portfolio management. The team also has significant private equity investment experience, spanning an array of products, industries and stages of business growth. Our professionals bring a thoughtful approach to due diligence and private equity references. Since 2015, First Merchants Sponsor Finance Group has led the financing of over 225 transactions with committed capital totaling in excess of $1.75 billion including 27 new platforms and 15 add-on acquisitions in 2023.

We serve a wide breadth of clients, from family offices and small firms to large private equity firms. Below is a sample of our PE firm clients:











We’re ready to help.

To get started today, have a Sponsor Finance professional contact you;

Or contact one of our Sponsor Finance team members below:

Mike McKay photo

Mike McKay
Managing Director of Sponsor Finance
Mobile: 312.513.8229
Email: [email protected]


Dave DeCraene
National Sales Director
Sponsor Finance
10333 N. Meridian St., Ste 350
Indianapolis, IN 46290
Office 317-566-7672
Mobile 317-531-8282
Email: [email protected]

Sponsor Finance FAQs

The Sponsor Finance team supports a variety of investors, including funded private equity groups and fundless independent sponsors with a proven track record of investment experience. We prefer to work with investors with industry expertise and/or dedicated operating partners with meaningful sector experience. Additionally, we work with family offices or individuals on a more selective basis.

We prefer to work with businesses with at least a three-to-five-year track record of strong and sustainable free cash flow generation featuring defendable market positions. 

We are focused on supporting private equity sponsors in the Midwest and Southeast. Our borrowers span the entire country; our only restriction is sponsors must be based in the U.S.

We typically hold up to $25MM. We partner with our Debt Capital Markets team to syndicate a transaction when the financing need exceeds our target hold size. 

We are generalists in nature, and there are no specific industries outside of our scope. However, our experience is primarily in manufacturing and service industries as well as value-added distribution businesses. With the right partner and a proven, well-established platform, we are open to a dialogue on any opportunity.