Owl Rock Looks to Raise $1.5 Billion for Opportunistic Debt Fund

(Bloomberg) -- Direct lender Owl Rock Capital Partners is looking to raise $1.5 billion to lend to small and mid-sized companies facing liquidity issues amid the pandemic, according to people familiar with the matter.

The firm is hoping to expand its reach in a corner of credit markets that banks have been pulling back from, and has begun discussing the fund with prospective investors, said the people, who aren’t authorized to speak publicly. An Owl Rock spokesman declined to comment.

Other firms like Carlyle Group Inc. and Fortress Investment Group are also looking to raise cash for what they see as attractive credit investments amid a coronavirus pandemic that is battering markets and the broader economy. BlackRock Inc.’s Jim Keenan has called opportunistic debt and special situations a “growth area” for his company.

Owl Rock Capital, founded by three Wall Street veterans in 2016, has grown to $16.4 billion of assets under management as of Dec. 31. The firm focuses on U.S. companies with $10 million to $250 million in earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization, or $50 million to $2.5 billion in annual revenue, according to its website.

The asset manager last year scored an investment from Neuberger Berman’s Dyal Capital Partners that valued the firm at about $2.5 billion. Co-founders Doug Ostrover, Marc Lipschultz and Craig Packer held senior positions at Blackstone Group Inc., KKR & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., respectively.

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