Oaktree Capital Group LLC is evaluating parts of General Electric Co.’s finance business, Oaktree Co- Chairman Bruce Karsh said.
“We are in the process,” Karsh, who co-founded Los Angeles-based Oaktree with Howard Marks and others, said Thursday on a conference call with analysts and investors. “We’ve got some serious interest in a few things.”
GE this month said it will sell the bulk of its lending unit in a sweeping move that will return the company to its industrial roots. Large banks including U.S. Bancorp and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have said they will look at the assets. People with knowledge of the details have said others interested include Blackstone Group LP, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., SunTrust Banks Inc., Apollo Global Management LLC and Ares Management LP.
Blackstone and Wells Fargo already agreed to purchase most of GE’s real estate in a $23 billion deal announced April 10.
“First we look at it for our funds -- there may be some interesting opportunities for our funds to purchase some assets there from GE,” said Karsh, who was discussing Oaktree’s first- quarter earnings. “But also Oaktree itself I think sees some interesting things as well.”
Oaktree, which oversees about $100 billion in assets, is the world’s biggest distressed-debt investor. The company on Thursday said first-quarter profit, as measured by adjusted net income, fell 37 percent to $155 million from a year earlier as it sold fewer assets.
The 85-cent per-share result exceeded the 65 cents expected by nine analysts in a Bloomberg survey, leading Oaktree shares to gain 1.9 percent.
A source inside GE told Mergers & Acquisitions that the Sponsor Finance unit, which inclues GE Antares and lends to private equity-backed companies, is likely to sell first and quickly. Reported bidders for that unit include Mitshubishi, Ares and Apollo.
For more on the GE Capital sale, see GE Capital Sale Expected to Shake Up Middle-Market Lending and read our Q&A with David Brackett, GE Antares CEO.