April 15, 2020 / 5:29 PM / a month ago

Oaktree looks to raise $15 billion for distressed debt fund: sources

(Reuters) - U.S. distressed asset manager Oaktree Capital Management is looking to raise $15 billion for a distressed fund, two people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The new fund comes at a time when disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak have led to a plunge in company valuations, allowing large distressed debt funds to potentially snap up assets cheaply.

Oaktree was co-founded and is co-chaired by veteran distressed debt guru Howard Marks, one of the most renowned debt investors.

Brookfield Asset Management Inc, which last year bought most of Oaktree, flagged the fundraising in a note to shareholders last month.

“We partnered with Oaktree last year in anticipation of the debt markets unwinding. Now it’s taking place,” Brookfield said in the note.

“The team at Oaktree is accelerating the pace of deployment of their current distressed debt fund and preparing to launch their next fund, which we think could significantly exceed the size of their last.”

Oaktree declined to comment. As of end of last year, the company had $19.41 billion in distressed debt assets under management, according to its website www.oaktreecapital.com/about.

The news about the new fundraising was first reported by Bloomberg on Wednesday.

Reporting by Joshua Franklin and Echo Wang in New York and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Shinjini Ganguli

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