YieldStreet said April 10 that it acquired Athena Art Finance Corp from Carlyle Group for about $170 million. Athena Art Finance provides art dealers, art galleries and collectors access to financing alternatives secured by fine art. Evercore served as financial adviser to YieldStreet, while Sandler O’Neill served as the exclusive financial adviser to Athena on the transaction.
April 10, 2019 05:55 AM Eastern Daylight Time
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, YieldStreet, a digital wealth management platform, announced that it has acquired Athena Art Finance Corp. (“Athena”) from The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG) and co-investors in a transaction valued at approximately $170 million. Athena is a pioneer in the global art finance market, providing art dealers, art galleries and collectors access to tailored financing alternatives secured by fine art. Since its founding in 2015, Athena’s disciplined, data-driven investing approach has produced cumulative originations of more than $225 million in loans without any realized credit losses.
This transaction represents YieldStreet’s first corporate acquisition, and comes on the heels of its recently completed $62 million Series B funding, the fifth largest fintech Series B funding round ever completed in New York City. YieldStreet offers retail investors unique access to alternative investments traditionally only available to institutional investors. Investment funds managed by Soros Fund Management LLC initially invested in YieldStreet’s Series A, followed on with an investment in the Series B, and provides warehouse financing for YieldStreet. “They have exemplified what it means to be a fantastic partner to a rapidly scaling business by providing strategic insights and financial support for this acquisition of Athena,” said YieldStreet Founder and President Michael Weisz.
“Our acquisition of Athena demonstrates YieldStreet’s ability to leverage our technology, proprietary origination channels and efficient direct-to-consumer distribution, to take a traditional capital intensive business and make it capital efficient. We’re thrilled to have the Athena team join the YieldStreet family, and look forward to supporting its existing business and continued scale and success,” said Weisz.
“True to our investor-first approach, we are constantly looking for unique and attractive diversification opportunities,” said Milind Mehere, Founder & CEO of YieldStreet. “Athena is the leading provider of credit solutions for the global art market and has scaled the business with strong growth and asset performance. Art financing is an attractive asset class with typically low correlation to the stock market and low loan-to-values, providing what we believe is both an exciting and sound new investment option for our investor community of more than 100,000 members.”
Athena’s experienced team is comprised of finance, art and legal veterans. Athena brings a principled institutional approach to art finance, by applying sound loan structuring, comprehensive art market analysis, and building proprietary data analytics and risk scoring methodologies related to specific artists and their works. Athena’s adherence to data quality, borrower confidentiality, and strong underwriting standards along with the highest levels of client support are a strong fit with YieldStreet’s investment philosophy.
As part of YieldStreet, Athena will continue under the executive leadership of Cynthia E. Sachs.
“Carlyle is proud to have played an important role in Athena’s growth and success,” said Jim Burr, Managing Director of The Carlyle Group. “YieldStreet has an impressive, innovative model and we are confident they are the right home for the future of Athena’s business.”
YieldStreet has already unlocked access to multiple alternative asset classes, historically available to only the largest institutions, including marine & shipping, real estate, legal finance and commercial loans for its customers who have invested more than $650 million on the platform since inception.
Evercore served as the exclusive financial advisor to YieldStreet, and Sandler O’Neill served as the exclusive financial advisor to Athena on the transaction.
YieldStreet is striving to build the largest global digital wealth management platform to change the way wealth is created. With an investor-first approach, YieldStreet’s community can build a diversified portfolio of investments outside of the stock market to help generate passive income. Investors get unprecedented access to asset classes such as Real Estate, Marine Finance, Litigation Finance & Commercial loans. Headquartered in New York City with offices in Brazil, Argentina and Greece, the company is backed with over $325M of equity and debt capital from firms including Edison Partners, Greenspring Associates, Greycroft, Raine Ventures, and others. Join the movement at www.yieldstreet.com.
About Athena Art Finance
Athena Art Finance (www.athena-art.com) is a disciplined finance company specializing in art-based lending. Athena provides its clients with flexible options for debt financing secured by high-value artwork. Our clients are high-net-worth individuals, families, trusts and art market professionals, and we work closely with them and their advisors, private bankers and wealth managers. Since 2015, Athena has provided over $225 million in financing for its clients globally.