Blackstone and HIG bolster debt arms through acquisitions

Alternatives managers the Blackstone Group and HIG Capital have both acquired debt management businesses in a bid to further expand their debt capabilities.

The Blackstone Group’s existing debt arm, GSO Capital Partners, has acquired European leveraged loan manager Harbourmaster Capital for an undisclosed sum, according to a statement.

The deal enables Blackstone to build out its European debt coverage, with GSO hitherto being largely US-focused. A source close to the process indicated Blackstone had been considering the acquisition for two years or more.

The Harbourmaster team oversees about €8 billion (£6.9 billion ; $10.7 billion) of assets, Blackstone said, which when combined with its existing European leveraged loan business would bring the US group’s total (debt-related) European assets under management to about €11.5 billion.

Bennett Goodman, senior managing director and co-founder of GSO, said: “Harbourmaster is widely recognised as a
market leader in Europe. By merging our European platforms, we are creating one of the largest alternative managers in Europe, strategically positioning us to capitalise on the growing number of investment opportunities in the European corporate credit markets.”

Blackstone is by no means the only manager looking to diversify beyond buyouts into related market segments however. HIG Capital, which already operates a debt management arm through its Bayside Capital subsidiary, also acquired a portfolio of assets from Dallas-based CLO manager WhiteHorse Capital for an undisclosed sum this week.

The firm has created HIG WhiteHorse, which it said would pursue a brought mandate to provide senior, second lien, uni-tranche, mezzanine and subordinated debt for refinancings, growth capital, acquisitions and recapitalisations.

“This transaction marks a significant expansion of HIG’s existing credit platform, which currently manages in excess of $4 billion,” the firm said in a statement.