By Greg Roumeliotis
NEW YORK May 2 Ares Management LLC, an
investment firm with some $59 billion in credit and private
equity assets, is speaking to investment banks about an initial
public offering (IPO) in the United States, a person with
knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.
If Ares proceeds with an IPO, it would be the latest in a
string of U.S. stock market listings by alternative asset
managers following public offerings last year from Carlyle Group
LP and Oaktree Capital Group LLC.
It would also come at a time when Ares' peer group, which
also includes Blackstone Group LP, KKR & Co LP
and Apollo Global Management LLC, has seen strong gains
in the stock market.
Since the start of the year, shares of alternative asset
managers have outperformed the wider financial sector on
expectations that buoyant capital markets will make it easier
for them to sell assets and pay rich dividends to shareholders.
The Financial Times earlier on Thursday cited bankers as
saying that Ares could launch an IPO in the next few months and
that Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JPMorgan Chase &
Co were among the leading contenders to underwrite the
The person familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity
because the matter is confidential, said that no bank had yet
been hired to work on the IPO.
Officials with Ares, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and
JPMorgan declined to comment.
Financial publication Pension and Investments cited one of
the firm's founders, Tony Ressler, on Feb. 18 as saying on the
question of an IPO: "It's not something we are actively
considering or have enormous interest in today. We watch. We are
never the first. But, we are aware of it as an opportunity."
Los Angeles-based Ares was founded by Ressler and John
Kissick, both of whom worked as bond traders in the 1980s at
Drexel Burnham Lambert and in 1990 co-founded investment manager
Apollo with Leon Black, Marc Rowan and Joshua Harris.
At Apollo, Ressler and Harris led the firm's capital markets
business and in 1997 spun out into a new firm called Ares, which
became independent in 2002. Even though it retained and expanded
its strong franchise in credit, Apollo became a major player in
large private equity deals.
Unlike Apollo, Ares has always been primarily a debt
investment firm. As of the end of December, Ares had just $9
billion in private equity assets and more than $48 billion in
corporate bonds, loans, structured credit products and other
In 2007, an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund bought a stake