Exclusive: Oaktree targets $2bn for debut infra fund

The alternative asset manager has begun marketing its first infrastructure vehicle that will be managed by Ian Schapiro and members of the Highstar team.

Following the acquisition and integration of infrastructure fund manager Highstar Capital, Oaktree Capital Management has begun marketing efforts for its first infrastructure fund seeking to raise $2 billion, Infrastructure Investor was able to confirm on Monday.

The fund, which will focus on North America, will be managed by Ian Schapiro, a managing director and portfolio manager of Oaktree’s Power Opportunities investment strategy, who was also responsible for the integration of the Highstar team into Oaktree. Highstar members Christopher Beall and Scott Litman, who along with Schapiro now serve as co-portfolio managers of Oaktree’s infrastructure programme, will also be managing the fund, sources told Infrastructure Investor.

An alternative assets manager that has been investing in the power sector since its founding in 1995, Oaktree has raised multiple funds. The latest was Power Opportunities Fund IV, which the firm closed last April on $1 billion. As of March 30, Oaktree had $100 billion in assets under management across all platforms.

It acquired Highstar Capital in June 2014 in a bid to expand its Power Opportunities strategy, “which seeks to identify successful companies that provide the products and services that support the infrastructure assets,” according to its website.

Upon closing the acquisition, Oaktree became manager of Highstar Capital IV, a $2.3 billion fund, which according to one source is almost fully deployed. Its infrastructure platform currently has $2.5 billion in assets under management, while its Power Opportunities portfolio stands at $1.8 billion.

During an earnings call earlier this year, Oaktree chief executive Jay Wintrob said Oaktree was targeting its “largest-ever closed-ended fund marketing effort of $20 billion over 18 months.” In addition to power and infrastructure, that effort also includes capital for distressed debt, real estate and senior loans.

While the integration of Highstar Capital into Oaktree seems to be complete, Highstar Capital continues to have a presence on the web, describing itself as an “independent, value-added infrastructure investment firm,” which lists Beall and Litman as members of the Highstar team.

Christopher Lee, founder and managing partner of Highstar, is also listed as senior advisor to Oaktree. However, his name does not appear on the Oaktree website.

Oaktree declined to comment through a spokesperson.