Blackstone Raises up to $960M For Retail Credit Fund

(Reuters) – Blackstone Group LP, the largest publicly listed alternative asset manager, said on Wednesday that it had raised up to $960 million for its third publicly listed mutual fund to invest in corporate credit whose quality is below investment grade.

Diversified alternative asset managers take money from large institutional investors, such as pension plans and sovereign wealth funds, to invest in a range of credit products, from high-yield bonds to senior loans.

Launching mutual funds allows asset managers to pocket more fees from much larger swathes of the investment community through up-and-running platforms. Blackstone’s credit businesses had $50.5 billion of assets under management at the end of June.

The new fund, dubbed Blackstone/GSO Strategic Credit Fund, raised $834.8 million in an initial public offering, or $960 million assuming the full exercise of the underwriters’ overallotment option, which is not certain, Blackstone said.

The fund’s primary objective is to seek high current income, with a secondary goal of preserving capital, Blackstone added.

Blackstone has two more closed-end mutual funds that are publicly listed – the Blackstone/GSO Long-Short Credit Income Fund and the Blackstone/GSO Senior Floating Rate Term Fund.

Competitor Apollo Global Management LLC also runs a closed-end listed fund, the Apollo Senior Floating Rate Fund. In July, KKR & Co LP submitted regulatory filings to market two mutual funds that will invest in credit products, playing catch-up with Blackstone and Apollo.

Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, UBS Investment Bank and Wells Fargo Securities were lead managers of the common share underwriting syndicate for Blackstone/GSO Strategic Credit Fund.

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York)

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