Fund manager of the year

1. Ares Management
2. KKR
3. Blackstone Credit

Ares Management raised $2.3 billion in new equity and debt commitments across its US direct lending vehicles in the 12 months to 30 September 2020 and closed around $9.7 billion in commitments across 150 deals.

Highlights included a £1.9 billion ($2.5 billion; €2.1 billion) first lien debt package arranged for Ardonagh, the UK insurance broker, which it claimed was the largest-ever unitranche financing.

The Los Angeles-based alternative assets manager also furthered
its foothold in Asia-Pacific by acquiring a majority stake in SSG Capital Management in 2020, adding $6 billion of assets under management in pan-Asian investment strategies.

Newcomer of the year

1. Tikehau Private Debt Secondaries
2. Pantheon
3. Kerberos Capital Management

Tikehau Private Debt Secondaries is spearheading Paris-based manager Tikehau Capital’s expansion in the credit secondaries market, and is reported to be raising its first dedicated secondaries fund.

Olga Kosters, the ex-head of StepStone’s US private debt advisory practice, was hired to run the unit in 2019. “There are quite a few GPs and LPs who, post-covid, started revisiting positions and taking a more proactive view,” Kosters told Private Debt Investor in September.

TPDS offers liquidity solutions across the private debt fund capital structure. It invests in equity stakes in seasoned private debt funds; fund debt capital (NAV lending/structured notes/preferred equity); and the publicly traded securities of private debt funds.

Sponsored deal of the year

1. Park Square Capital (BASF Construction Chemicals)
2. Pemberton (Hermes UK)
3. Tikehau Capital (Talan)

Pick of the deals: Park Square invested €300 million to support Lone Star’s acquisition of BASF Construction Chemicals

In January 2020, Park Square Capital supported Lone Star’s acquisition of BASF Construction Chemicals, co-arranging a PIK facility and co-investing in the equity as well as anchoring the senior debt.

Park Square invested a total of €300 million across the capital structure, working closely with Lone Star to support its auction process. BASF and an affiliate of Lone Star signed a purchase agreement for the acquisition of BASF’s Construction Chemicals business in December 2019. The purchase price on a cash and debt-free basis was €3.2 billion. The transaction closed last September.

CLO Manager of the year

1. CVC Credit Partners
2. Blackstone Credit
3. GoldenTree Asset Management

CVC Credit Partners announced in November that it had taken its CLO issuance in 2020 to more than $2 billion with the pricing of the €379 million Cordatus XIX fund.

Two other Cordatus funds worth $320 million and €382.5 million were also raised in 2020, as well as two Apidos funds worth $400 million and $402.5 million. These took CVC’s CLO assets under management to $17 billion in 2020, with $10 billion in the US and $7 billion Europe.

Gretchen Bergstresser, global head of performing credit at CVC Credit Partners, said: “Despite the challenging economic environment we have continued to grow our CLO business in 2020.”

Distressed deal of the year

1. Bain Capital Credit
(Hypo Alpe Adria Bank)

2. Värde Partners
(Pacific Gas & Electric)

3. SVPGlobal (Swissport)

Bain Capital Credit acquired Hypo Alpe Adria Bank from the Austrian government in a deal under which the bank rebranded as Julia Portfolio Solutions. The new entity will focus on serving third-party non-performing loan portfolios.

Bain said the deal strengthened its strategic presence in the Italian NPL sector. Hypo Alpe Adria was originally operating in the banking sector, but in recent years it has shifted its focus to credit and real estate portfolio management, becoming an authorised financial intermediary.

Fundraising of the Year

1. LCM Partners
2. KKR
3. HPS Investment Partners

LCM Partners has secured a reported €3.4 billion for its Credit Opportunities 4 distressed debt strategy, well on its way to reaching its €4 billion target for the commingled fund by the final close of April 2021. The London-based manager has received commitments from North American, European and Asian institutional investors, including 10 of the top 300 largest pension funds globally.

Interest from existing LPs has been strong with more than €2 billion of commitments coming from clients that invested in its 2016 vintage LCM Credit Opportunities 3. LCM is also raising a Strategic Origination and Lending Opportunities (SOLO) fund with a target of €1 billion.

LP/Investor Advisor of the Year

1. StepStone
2. Aksia
3. bfinance

StepStone targets privately negotiated debt transactions across corporate, real estate and infrastructure debt. Through its 15 partners and more than 50 investment professionals, the firm has committed over $26 billion in total capital allocations. A longstanding private debt player, it has operated through multiple cycles. “As the capital markets reorganise, we remain committed to primary direct lending, perhaps with favourable yields, and better credit discipline,” StepStone partner John Bohill told Private Debt Investor last year.