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Oaktree Capital Management

Oaktree Capital Management

Oaktree Capital Management is an American global asset management firm specializing in alternative investment strategies. It is the largest distressed securities investor in the world, and one of the largest credit investors in the world.[4][5] Oaktree emphasizes an opportunistic, value-oriented, and risk-controlled approach to investments in distressed debt, corporate debt (including high yield debt and senior loans), control investing (including private equity and special situations), convertible securities, real estate and listed equities.

As of December 31, 2018, the company managed $120 billion for its clientele which includes 73 of the 100 largest U.S. pension plans, as well as public funds, foundations, corporate and insurance companies, endowments, and sovereign wealth funds.[6][7] The company's co-chairman, Howard Marks, has been described as “one of the savviest investors in the world,”[8] and is known in the investment community for letters to investors called the "Oaktree memos”.[9]

The firm was co-founded in 1995 by a group who had formerly worked together at the TCW Group starting in the 1980s. Oaktree quickly established a reputation in the high-yield and distressed-debt markets.[10] On April 12, 2012, Oaktree Capital Group LLC became listed on the NYSE: OAK [68] .[11][12]

On March 13, 2019, Brookfield Asset Management announced that it had agreed to buy 62% of Oaktree Capital Management for about $4.7 billion, creating one of the world’s largest alternative money managers.[13][14]

Oaktree Capital Management, Inc.
Traded asNYSE: OAK [66]
IndustryFinancial services
FoundedApril 1995 (1995-04)[1]
FoundersHoward Marks, Bruce Karsh, Steve Kaplan, Larry Keele, Richard Masson, Sheldon Stone[1]
Los Angeles, California
Number of locations
Key people
Howard Marks
Bruce Karsh
(Co-Chairman and CIO)
John Frank
(Vice Chairman)
Jay Wintrob
AUMUS$122 billion (as of June 30, 2018)[3]
Websiteoaktreecapital.com [67]

Firm overview

Oaktree is headquartered in the Wells Fargo Tower in Los Angeles, seen here as the building on the left

Oaktree is headquartered in the Wells Fargo Tower in Los Angeles, seen here as the building on the left

With headquarters in Los Angeles,[15] the firm has over 950 employees[16] and offices in 18 cities worldwide (Los Angeles; London; New York City; Hong Kong; Stamford, Connecticut; Tokyo; Luxembourg; Paris; Frankfurt; Singapore; Seoul; Beijing; Amsterdam; Dubai; Houston; Shanghai; and Sydney).[11][14]

Investment philosophy

Oaktree has a value-oriented investment philosophy, emphasizing risk-control, consistency and specialization, with a focus on opportunities that offer a margin of safety.[11] On November 12, 2011, the Financial Times said of Oaktree's approach: “the heart of risk management Oaktree-style, with its emphasis on living to fight another day, is simple. Oaktree eschews overly complicated hedging strategies.”[8] The firm specializes in off-the-beaten-path and contrarian investments,[8] and favors companies with tangible assets.[17] The firm's motto is “if we avoid the losers, the winners will take care of themselves.”[18]

Investment focus

Oaktree invests across the capital structure, with an emphasis on senior debt in companies and markets where it has what it calls a “knowledge advantage.” Distressed or otherwise ailing companies, according to Oaktree, provide such opportunities.

Since its 1995 formation, Oaktree has become the largest distressed-debt investor in the world.[4][19] In 2008, it raised $10.9 billion for what was the largest-ever distressed debt fund, its Opportunities Fund VIIb.[20] As reported in The Washington Post on June 26, 2011, Oaktree's 17 distressed-debt funds (which do not use leverage) have averaged annual gains of 19% after fees for the past 22 years.[21]

Oaktree invests in 4 asset classes: credit, private equity, real assets and listed equities.[11]

Investor base

Oaktree's clientele includes 73 of the 100 largest U.S. pension plans, 38 states in the United States, over 400 corporations and/or their pension funds, over 340 university, charitable and other endowments and foundations, 15 sovereign wealth funds.[22][23] According to the Wall Street Journal, Oaktree has “long been considered a stable repository for pension-fund and endowment money.”[24][14]

The company's distressed-debt funds are often over-subscribed, and in 2010 Oaktree turned down potential investors due to self-imposed limits on fund size.[25] By law, clients are required to be so-called accredited investors, however, sub-advisory relationships with mutual funds such as The Vanguard Group, Eaton Vance, and Russell Investment Group and its public funds (BDCs, Non-Traded REIT, and SICAV vehicles) provide smaller investors access to Oaktree's portfolio managers.


Early years (1995–1999)

Oaktree was founded in 1995 by a group of principals who first joined together at the TCW Group in the mid-1980s[26] to manage high yield bonds, convertible securities, distressed debt, real estate, and principal investments.[27] Within three months of its founding in 1995, “more than 30 TCW clients transferred $1.5 billion in assets to Oaktree.”[8][28]

Oaktree has formed various sub-advisory relationships since 1995. In 1996, Oaktree was selected as the sub-advisor for the Vanguard Convertible Securities Fund.[27]

Since 1995, Oaktree has created what it refers to as “step-out” strategies, usually coincident with the opening of new offices around the world. Its growth in strategies has largely focused on expanding into European and Asian markets. Between 1997 and 1999, Oaktree created 3 new strategies: Emerging Markets Absolute Return in 1997, European High Yield Bonds in 1999, and Power Opportunities in 1999.[23] Oaktree was one of the first U.S.-headquartered alternative asset managers with dedicated European investment teams focused on credit.[27]

Expansion (2000–2010)

In 2001 Oaktree continued to introduce new "step-out" strategies, starting with Mezzanine Finance. Asia Principal Opportunities (2006) followed, along with European Principal Investments (2006), European Senior Loans (2006), U.S. Senior Loans and Value Opportunities (2007), Global High Yield Bonds (2010), Emerging Markets Equities (2011), and Real Estate Debt (2012).[27][29][23]

In 2005 the Securities And Exchange Commission ordered Oaktree to pay a fine, interest, and disgorge profits after the SEC ruled they had "sold securities short" before the five legal business days after a public offering pricing had gone public. Oaktree was required to put in place policies and procedures to prevent violations in the future.[30]

In 2008, the firm raised $11 billion for their distressed debt fund.[20][31] In 2009, Oaktree was selected by the U.S. Treasury, along with eight other managers (BlackRock, Invesco, AllianceBernstein and others)[32] to participate in the government's Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP).[33] At the time of Oaktree's inclusion in the PPIP program, The New York Times reported: “Howard S. Marks is the sort of financier who Washington hopes will help fix the nation’s tumbledown banks.”[34] As of December 31, 2018, the Oaktree PPIP Fund, L.P. had a gross return of 28%.[29][35][23][14]

Recent years (2010–present)

Relationship expansion

In recent years, the company has formed several strategic relationships. In 2009, Oaktree acquired a 20% stake in DoubleLine Capital, a Los Angeles-based investment firm specializing in mortgage-backed fixed income portfolios.[36]

Its relationship with Vanguard was expanded in 2011, when Oaktree was selected as one of four firms to manage Vanguard's Emerging Markets Select Stock Fund. In 2010, Oaktree was named one of three advisors to the Russell Global Opportunistic Credit Fund and was selected as a manager for the Credit Suisse (Lux) I Fund in 2011.[27]

In 2017, Eaton Vance launched the Oaktree Diversified Credit NextShares exchange-traded managed fund with Oaktree as subadvisor. Also, in 2017, Oaktree launched two BDCs: Oaktree Specialty Lending Corporation and Oaktree Strategic Income Corporation.

In 2018, Oaktree filed a registration statement to launch a non-traded REIT.[37]

European sovereign-debt crisis

Seeking investment opportunities created by the European sovereign-debt crisis,[38][39] Oaktree started its European Principal Fund III in November 2011 with committed capital of some €3 billion.[40]

Other recent funds

According to the company's published financial results, Oaktree raised $12 billion for Oaktree Opportunities Funds X and Xb (“Opps X and Xb”).[23] Like its other Opportunities funds, Fund X and Xb will focus on “market pricing inefficiencies resulting from company reorganizations and restructurings, and the senior and secured debt of operationally sound, overleveraged companies in the United States and Western Europe.”[41] New strategies, such as Strategic Credit, European Private Debt, Emerging Markets Total Return, Emerging Markets Opportunities, Value Equities, Infrastructure Investing, Real Estate Income, European High Yield Bonds and Senior Loans, Global Credit, and Middle Market Direct Lending were also added to the platform.[23]

NYSE listing

On April 12, 2012, Oaktree became a publicly traded partnership with shares listed on the NYSE.[12] The company was previously listed on GSTrUE, a private over-the-counter exchange run by Goldman Sachs[42] which officially ceased operations[43] in 2012 after Oaktree, along with Apollo Global Management (in 2011), de-listed and moved to the NYSE.[44]

Acquisition of Control by Brookfield

On March 13, 2019, Brookfield Asset Management announced that it had agreed to buy 62% of Oaktree Capital Management for about $4.7 billion, creating one of the world’s largest alternative money managers.[45][14]

Investment funds

Oaktree's current investment activities are divided across four asset classes: credit, private equity, real assets and listed equities.[14][46] Fund structures within each asset class vary, and are organized into closed-end, open-end, or so-called “evergreen” fund types.

Oaktree's fund offerings are organized into three broad categories based on liquidity and lock-up period:

  • Closed-End Funds: Closed-end funds are structured as limited partnerships that have a 10- or 11-year term and have a specified period during which clients can subscribe for limited partnership interests in the fund. Closed-end funds have a three-, four- or five-year investment period.

  • Open-End Funds: Commingled open-end funds are structured as limited partnerships that admit clients as new limited partners on an ongoing basis. Unlike close-end funds, these funds do not have an investment period. Capital may be committed to new investments at any time during the fund's life.

  • Evergreen Funds: “Evergreen funds” invest in marketable securities on a long and short basis. Like open-end funds, Oaktree's evergreen funds accept new capital on an ongoing basis. Clients in evergreen funds are generally subject to a lock-up period of between one and three years.[29]

The following tables list the company's strategies and funds since inception (including TCW funds directed by Oaktree managers before they left TCW to found Oaktree in 1995):

Closed-End Funds

FundInception DateCommitted
Capital ($m)
Distressed Debt
TCW Special Credits Fund I, L.P.Oct-1988$97
TCW Special Credits Fund II, L.P.Jul-1990$261
TCW Special Credits Fund IIb, L.P.Dec-1990$153
TCW Special Credits Fund III, L.P.Nov-1991$329
TCW Special Credits Fund IIIb, L.P.Apr-1992$6447
TCW Special Credits Fund IV, L.P.Jun-1993$394
OCM Opportunities Fund, L.P.Oct-1995$771
OCM Opportunities Fund II, L.P.Oct-1997$1,550
OCM Opportunities Fund III, L.P.Sep-1999$2,077
OCM Opportunities Fund IV, L.P.Sep-2001$2,125
OCM Opportunities Fund IVb, L.P.May-2002$1,339
OCM Opportunities Fund V, L.P.Jun-2004$1,179
OCM Opportunities Fund VI, L.P.Jul-2005$1,773
OCM Opportunities Fund VII, L.P.Mar-2007$3,598
OCM Opportunities Fund VIIb, L.P.May-2008$10,940
Special Account ANov-2008$253
Oaktree Opportunities Fund VIII, L.P.Oct-2009$4,507
Special Account BNov-2009$1,031
Oaktree Opportunities Fund VIIIb, L.P.Aug-2011$2,692
Oaktree Opportunities Fund IXJan 2014$5,066
Oaktree Opportunities Fund XJan 2016$3,603
Oaktree Opportunities Fund XbTBD$8,872
Special Situations
TCW Special Credits Fund V, L.P.Apr-1994$401
OCM Principal Opportunities Fund, L.P.Jul-1996$625
OCM Principal Opportunities Fund II, L.P.Dec-2000$1,275
OCM Principal Opportunities Fund III, L.P.Nov-2003$1,400
OCM Principal Opportunities Fund IV, L.P.Oct-2006$3,328
Special Account CDec-2008$505
Oaktree Capital Principal Fund V, L.P.Feb-2009$2,827
Oaktree Special Situations L.P.Nov-2015$1,377
Oaktree Special Situations II, L.P.TBD$1,336
European Principal
OCM European Principal Opportunities Fund, L.P.Mar-2006$495
OCM European Principal Opportunities Fund II, L.P.Dec-2007€1,759
Oaktree Capital European Principal Fund III, L.P.Nov-2011€3,164
Oaktree European Principal Fund IV.L.PJul-2017€1,119
European Private Debt
Special Account EOct 2013€379
Oaktree European Dislocation FundOct 2013€294
Oaktree European Capital Solutions FundDec 2015€703
Power Opportunities
OCM/GFI Power Opportunities Fund, L.P.Nov-1999$449
OCM/GFI Power Opportunities Fund II, L.P.Nov-2004$1,021
Oaktree Capital Power Opportunities Fund III, L.P.Apr-2010$1,062
Oaktree Capital Power Opportunities Fund IV, L.P.Nov-2015$1,106
Oaktree Capital Power Opportunities Fund V, L.P.TBD$1,400
Real Estate Opportunities
TCW Special Credits Fund VI, L.P.Aug-1994$506
OCM Real Estate Opportunities Fund A, L.P.Feb-1996$379
OCM Real Estate Opportunities Fund B, L.P.Mar-1997$285
OCM Real Estate Opportunities Fund II, L.P.Dec-1998$464
OCM Real Estate Opportunities Fund III, L.P.Sep-2002$707
OCM Real Estate Opportunities Fund IV, L.P.Dec-2007$450
Special Account DNov-2009$256
Oaktree Capital Real Estate Opportunities Fund V, L.P.Mar-2011$1,283
Oaktree Real Estate Opportunities Fund VIAug 2012$2,677
Oaktree Real Estate Opportunities Fund VIIJan-2016$2,921
Real Estate Debt
Oaktree Capital PPIP Fund, L.P.Dec-2009$2,322
Oaktree Real Estate Debt FundSep 2013$1,112
Oaktree Real Estate Debt Fund IIMar-2017$2,087
Real Estate Income
Special Account GOct-2016$615
U.S. Private Debt
OCM Mezzanine Fund I, L.P.Oct-2001$808
OCM Mezzanine Fund II, L.P.Jun-2005$1,251
Oaktree Capital Mezzanine Fund III, L.P.Dec-2009$1,592
Oaktree Mezzanine Fund IVOct 2014$852
Infrastructure Investing
Highstar Capital IVNov 2010$2,000
Oaktree Transportation Infrastructure FundDec 2018$1,091
Emerging Markets Opportunities
Oaktree Emerging Market Opportunities FundSept 2013$384
Special Account FJan 2014$253
Oaktree Emerging Market Opportunities Fund IITBD$178

Open-End Funds

FundInception DateAUM ($m)
Open End Fund
U.S. High Yield Bonds1986$13,818
U.S. Convertibles1987$1,658
High Income Convertibles1989$995
Non-U.S. Convertibles1994$1,658
European High Yield Bonds1999$421
U.S. Senior Loans2008$630
European Senior Loans2009$1,143
Global High Yield Bonds2010$3,154
Emerging Markets Equities2011$4,169
Multi-strategy CreditVarious$2,515

Evergreen Funds

FundInception DateAUM ($m)
Evergreen Fund
Value Opportunities2007$1,000
Strategic Credit2012$5,312
Value Equities2012$453
Emerging Markets Debt2015$1,045


Current as of December 31, 2018:[47][14]

Assets by client type
Client type%US$
Public Funds2220,454
Corporate and Corporate Pensions2120,339
Sovereign Wealth Funds87,704
Endowments and Foundations65,200
Insurance companies109,925
Private - HNW/Family Office65,874
Intermediary distribution109,410
Fund of Funds32,915
Oaktree and Affiliates43,783
Assets by asset class
Private Equity1312,261
Real Assets1311,983
Listed Equities54,702

Select Past and Current Investments

  • General Maritime - Oil tanker line utilizing foreign vessels and crews headquartered in New York

  • Sky Holding — jet airplane ownership[48]

  • Fitness First - Global health club chain. Taken over in partnership with Marathon Asset Management in 2012.[49] Parts of business subsequently sold in whole or in part in 2016-17.[50][51][52]

  • Verreries de l’Orne à Ecouché (Orne) — glass etching firm — 1 April 2010[53]

  • Campofrío Food Group — (24%) European food industry.[54] Sold in 2013.[55]

  • Conbipel — (100%) Italian fashion industry[56]

  • Vivarte; French fashion industry

  • Quiksilver — American retail sporting company[57]

  • Billabong International Ltd. - Australia's largest surfwear company.[58]

  • Aleris International — acquired 1 May 2010[59]

  • Almatis Group — acquired 2010[60]

  • Townsquare Media — broadcast station and local media company owned by Oaktree Capital — acquired 1 April 2010

  • Tribune Company — acquired jointly with JPMorgan Chase and Angelo, Gordon & Co.; acquisition completed July 2012.[61]

  • Nine Entertainment Co. — taken over (alongside Apollo Global Management and Goldman Sachs) from CVC Asia Pacific in a refinancing deal in Oct 2012, sold final stake in 2017.[62]

  • MediaWorks New Zealand — acquired a controlling 77.8% share in the business, after recently purchasing shares from RBS and Westpac; acquisition completed April 29, 2015.[63]

See also

  • Category:Oaktree Capital Management


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