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Bayside hires European distressed debt chief

Appu Mondassery, Highland Capital's former London head, will steer the HIG affiliate's European distressed debt activities including debt-for-equity restructurings.

HIG Capital's debt affiliate has hired Apu Mundassery, the former head of hedge fund Highland Capital Management's London office, to help it deploy some $2 billion in uninvested capital.

As the head of Bayside Capital's European distressed debt activities, Mundassery will play a key role in the firm's distressed investment strategy, which includes making control and non-control investments in the primary lending, secondary debt trading and rescue financing arenas.

Bayside's dry powder, along with its strong European presence and in-house operating expertise, positions it to capitalise on “the ongoing wave of restructurings and debt–for-equity recapitalisations we are currently witnessing in Europe, particularly where a creative solution or speedy execution is required”, Mundassery said in a statement.

Mundassery previously led Highland Capital's European activities, including high yield loans, bonds and mezzanine debt. Prior to assuming that role in 2005, he managed non-investment grade debt portfolios in the retail and consumer sectors for the firm's US unit, and also worked in the leveraged finance group at DLJ and Credit Suisse First Boston.

Highland, which often buys the debt of private equity-backed companies, is one of many hedge funds that ran into difficulties when credit markets siezed. Last year the firm decided to liquidate its flagship “Crusader” fund as well as a credit strategies fund following severe losses that it attributed to extreme market volatility.

Mid-market private equity firm HIG manages roughly $7.5 billion and has more than 150 investment professionals across offices in Miami, Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco, New York, London, Hamburg and Paris.