Leveraged loans: Clearing the backlog

The leveraged buyout market started 2008 on something of a sour note. Financiers awoke to a New Year hangover of a different sort: US mortgage originator and auto leasing company PHH Corp's $1.8 billion sale to General Electric and Blackstone Group had been scrapped.

The buyout firm said in a statement that its banks, JPMorgan and Lehman Brothers, had failed to meet their commitment to lend on the original terms signed in March last year.

The aborted PHH acquisition is a relatively small deal; its