Ares Capital Corporation ("Ares Capital" or "ARCC") is a leading specialty finance company that provides one-stop solutions to meet the distinct and underserved financing needs of private middle-market companies across diverse industries. Our flexibility, structuring expertise and self-origination capabilities enable us to invest across the capital structure and to meet the full spectrum of our clients' financing needs. As a patient, long-term investor with permanent capital, we have developed a reputation for the flexibility of our approach, a willingness to hold large positions and the ability to offer sponsors and management teams increased certainty of execution. We provide flexible debt capital to middle-market companies and, on a lesser scale, to power generation projects.
We have elected to be regulated as a business development company ("BDC") under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder. Our common stock is publicly traded on The NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol "ARCC". Ares Capital is the largest BDC by both market capitalization and total assets with approximately $12.3 billion of total assets as of December 31, 2017. On January 3, 2017, Ares Capital closed its acquisition of American Capital, Ltd. (NASDAQ: ACAS), enhancing ARCC's position as a leading direct lender to U.S. middle market companies. The partners and investment committee members for Ares Capital's investment adviser possess an average of over 20 years of relevant experience.
Ares Capital is externally managed by Ares Capital Management LLC ("Ares Capital Management"), a subsidiary of Ares Management, L.P. (NYSE:ARES) ("Ares"), a publicly traded, leading global alternative asset manager with offices located across the U.S., Europe and Asia. Ares Capital Management is able to leverage the power of the broader Ares platform to access resources, relationships and significant capital markets, trading and research expertise to provide ARCC with attractive investment opportunities.
Ares Capital's portfolio company, Ivy Hill Asset Management, L.P. ("IHAM"), an SEC registered investment adviser, manages 21 vehicles and serves as the sub-manager or sub-servicer for two other vehicles as of December 31, 2017. In conjunction with the completion of the acquisition on January 3, 2017, American Capital Asset Management, LLC ("ACAM"), a wholly owned portfolio company of American Capital, Ltd. ("ACAS"), merged with and into IHAM, a wholly owned portfolio company of Ares Capital, with IHAM remaining as the surviving entity as a wholly owned portfolio company of Ares Capital. IHAM is the external manager of American Capital Senior Floating, Ltd., (NASDAQ:ACSF), a diversified closed-end investment management company that invests primarily in first lien and second lien floating rate loans to large market, U.S. based companies and invest in debt and equity tranches of collateralized loan obligations.