March 16, 2016 / 3:26 PM / 2 years ago

Ex-Paulson partner snags Bain Capital co-founder's backing for new hedge fund

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former Paulson & Co partner Dan Kamensky has secured backing from a Bain Capital co-founder and others for his new hedge fund, and plans to hire a former top marketer at King Street Capital Management to sell it, Kamensky said in an interview.

Kamensky’s new firm, distressed investment-focused Marble Ridge Capital, launched on Jan. 4 with about $30 million. That came from Kamensky, a group of wealthy families and RMWC, a private firm led by Bain Capital co-founder Coleman Andrews.

RMWC invests money for Andrews and other wealthy individuals, including fellow former executives of the Boston-based private equity firm and its sister consulting group, Bain & Company. RMWC also has several pensions and foundation clients.

“He rings the cash register for his investors,” Andrews said of Kamensky in an email to Reuters.

Marble Ridge plans to raise around $200 million more starting on April 1. To do that, Bill Casey is set to join the firm early next month as head of business development and investor relations.

Until last week, Casey had been a managing director for investor relations at large hedge fund firm King Street Capital Management, where he had worked since January 2009. Casey and a spokesman for King Street declined to comment.

More companies are expected to file for bankruptcy protection as lenders pull pack, creating an opportunity for so-called distressed investors like Marble Ridge.

“The distressed space has enormous opportunity,” Kamensky said in an interview with Reuters in his Manhattan offices. “We’re in the first inning of a long distressed cycle.”

Kamensky has already gotten involved in his specialty - complicated investments in companies that are in financial trouble.

    Those include the bankrupt operating unit of gaming company Caesars Entertainment Corp (CZR.O), where Kamensky helped orchestrate a mediation between parties.

    Other Marble Ridge positions include failed Icelandic bank Landsbanki, which recently emerged from bankruptcy, and Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, a financially troubled subsidiary of iHeartMedia (IHRT.PK).

    Marble Ridge’s main hedge fund is up in the low single-digits so far this year, according to Kamensky. The average distressed fund is down 3.6 percent in 2016 through February, according to the Absolute Return Distressed Index.

    Last year, Kamensky had planned to partner with Davidson Kempner Capital Management veteran Sara Tirschwell to launch Livia Capital Partners.

    The pair decided to end the partnership before the firm launched, foregoing $175 million in promised backing from Aurora Investment Management. Tirschwell departed, but Kamensky kept the small five-person staff they had assembled and rebranded as Marble Ridge.

    Reporting by Lawrence Delevingne, editing by G Crosse

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