Blackstone bolsters debt arm with Harbourmaster deal

Blackstone has acquired European leveraged loan manager Harbourmaster, which advises on €8bn of loans and infrastructure debt. Earlier this year, Harbourmaster hired a new infrastructure team to focus on opportunities in the space.

The Blackstone Group’s existing debt arm, GSO Capital Partners, has acquired European leveraged loan manager Harbourmaster Capital for an undisclosed sum, according to a statement. 

The deal enables Blackstone to build out its European debt coverage, with GSO hitherto being largely US-focused. A source close to the process indicated Blackstone had been considering the acquisition for two years or more. 

The Harbourmaster team oversees about €8 billion of loans and infrastructure debt, which, when combined with its existing European leveraged loan business, would bring the US group’s total debt-related European assets under management to about €11.5 billion. 

In January, Harbourmaster hired Philippe Benaroya, Chris Wrenn and Gilles Lengaigne – formerly of monoline insurer FSA – to bolster its infrastructure debt team and capitalise on “considerable opportunities in both the primary and secondary infrastructure debt markets and as investors seek long-term stable returns,” Harbourmaster said at the time.

The new hires underwrote more than €7 billion of infrastructure debt while at FSA over the last 10 years “without incurring any losses,” Harbormauster stressed in a January statement.

*Bruno Alves contributed reporting.