Magnetar hires former Apollo executive

Michael Gross, a founder and former senior partner of Apollo Management, has joined hedge fund Magnetar Capital as a senior partner, signaling Magnetar’s intention to focus on private equity investing.

Hedge fund Magetar Capital has hired Michael Gross, formerly of Apollo Management, as a senior partner and co-chairman of the firm’s investment committee.

Gross, a founder and former senior partner of Apollo Management and the founder, chairman and former chief executive officer of Apollo Investment Corporation, has nearly two decades of experience in private equity. From 1990 to 2006, Gross served in various capacities at Apollo, where he was part of an investment committee that oversaw some $13 billion (€10.2 billion) in investments in over 150 companies. He also served on the boards of more than 20 public and private companies.

Apollo Management, which recently closed on a fresh $10.1 billion pool of capital, was founded in 1990 by Leon Black, Gross and others. In 2004 Gross founded Apollo Investment Corp, and as chairman and chief executive officer he led the largest initial public offering of a business development company – Apollo Management. Gross was also the founder and managing partner of Apollo Distressed Investment Fund.

Like other senior partners at Apollo Management, Gross formerly worked at Drexel Burnham Lambert, the now-defunct high-yield bond pioneer. Gross’ experience in the credit markets and private equity markets positions him well to take advantage of the much-discussed convergence between hedge fund and buyout strategies.

Gross has been busy since he left Apollo. In May he filed to take public a ’blank check’ special purpose acquisition vehicle called Marathon Acquiition. The vehicle, with a target of $300 million, will acquire one or more operating businesses and then seek a listing on the American Stock Exchange, according to SEC filings.

Magnetar, based in Evanston, Illinois, was founded in November 2005 by Alec Litowitz, former global head of equities at Citadel Investment Group, and Ross Laser, former president and managing partner of Glenwood Capital Partners. The firm plans to pursue a variety of areas including private equity investing, direct lending, risk arbitrage, equity restructuring, PIPEs, distressed credits and private placements.

The firm has offices in Evanston, New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia and London.