The certainty of the deal presents an opportunity to safely use leverage - borrowed money - to increase the rate of return.
With arbitrage situations that is certain to reach fruition, be willing to leverage.
This is the exception to the usual advice against the evils of borrowing money to buy stocks.
What is the risk of using leverage?
The danger with any stock investment is that it will not perform, that the share price won't increase, that it will drop like a rock, taking our capital with it.
Borrowing money to invest in a risky investment is a sure way to eventually go broke.
How can you benefit from using leverage?
A high probability of the arbitrage deal being completed equates to a large amount of the risk being removed.
If you are certain that you are going to make your projected profit, it is safe to use borrowed money to increase your rate of return.
The use of leverage gives you the advantage of being able to pull additional earning power out of capital tied up in other investments.
When should you not use leverage?
There are two reasons:
(1) If the deal or event that drives the profit is not certain, then borrowing capital to invest in it can be an invitation to folly, and,
(2) If the time element is not certain, then determining the difference between the cost of borrowed capital and the rate of return becomes an impossible calculation.
The Time Danger of Using Leverage
In the game of using leverage, time is never on your side - quicker is always better
You can comfortably borrow $1 million at 5% to invest if we are 'certain" that the deal will be completed in the time period we projected.
If the investment, instead of its taking one year for our stock to move up, it takes four years; then the borrowed money is costing us $50,000 a year and if we hold it for four years, our interest costs will balloon to $200,000.
It is the certainty of both the time and the return that allows you to leverage up and use borrowed money to safely invest in arbitrage and other special situations.
Leverage, if used carefully, and only with deals where there is a high probability of performance, this strategy makes it possible to greatly enhance the performance of your arbitrage investments.