Italy’s Azimut takes 20% stake in Kennedy Lewis

The Milan-headquartered asset manager has acquired the interest through a US subsidiary, which provides firms with permanent capital to support their further growth.

Italian asset manager Azimut Group has acquired a 20 percent non-controlling minority equity interest in Kennedy Lewis Investment Management, the New York-based private debt fund manager.

Milan-based Azimut Group, which has more than $65 billion under management and is part of Italian stock exchange-listed Azimut Holding, made the acquisition through Azimut Alternative Capital Partners, which was established in November last year to partner with US-based alternative asset managers by providing them with permanent capital to help reach their growth potential.

Around 90 percent of the proceeds from the transaction, which was the first completed by AACP, will be used to increase Kennedy Lewis’s investments in its own funds. The amount paid by Azimut for the stake was not disclosed.

Kennedy Lewis was founded in 2017 by David Chene, a former managing director at CarVal Investors, and Darren Richman, a former senior managing director at Blackstone. The firm has also recruited from the likes of Carlyle Group, Apollo Global Management and Goldman Sachs and has 19 investment professionals and 28 professionals overall.

A self-described investor in “event-driven credit situations” Kennedy Lewis focuses on mid-market companies facing cyclical, secular or regulation-related disruption. The firm, which invests in North America and Europe, raised more than $500 million for its debut fund in late 2018 and is currently raising its second fund, which has a target of $1 billion.

A joint statement by Chene and Richman said the firm’s balance sheet would be strengthened by permanent capital “allowing us to increase commitments to our own funds and deepen our alignment with our limited partners”. They also said the tie-up with Azimut would provide a “differentiated sourcing channel for future investment opportunities”.

Established in 1989, Azimut Group operates across public markets, private markets and emerging markets from 17 offices around the world. According to Pietro Giuliani, the firm’s chairman, the firm wants private markets to represent at least 15 percent of its AUM by the end of 2024.

The Azimut investment in Kennedy Lewis was advised by Houlihan Lokey and Seward & Kissel (on behalf of Kennedy Lewis) and Sidley Austin (on behalf of AACP).