May 19, 2024

DealBook: Oaktree Plans Initial Public Offering

Oaktree Capital Management is planning to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, the latest private investment firm to tap the public markets.

Oaktree, which manages about $82 billion, mostly in fixed-income strategies, is expected to transfer its shares from a private exchange to the N.Y.S.E., according to a person familiar with the planned move who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it.

The listing will provide Oaktree with a more active trading market in its stock, broaden the ownership of the firm to retail investors and, ultimately, give its founders a means to cash out their stakes.

In May 2007, at the market peak, Oaktree’s owners sold a minority stake in the company to institutional investors in a private placement. Those shares have since traded on a private exchange run by Goldman Sachs.

Its shift to the Big Board would follow a similar maneuver by Apollo Global Management, which moved its shares from the Goldman marketplace to the N.Y.S.E. in March and, at the same time, raised about $400 million in an initial public offering.

Oaktree would join the growing ranks of so-called alternative asset managers that are now publicly traded, a list that includes Apollo, the Blackstone Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and the Fortress Investment Group. Five years ago, all those companies were closely held.

An Oaktree representative declined to comment. News of the firm’s plans was earlier reported by The Financial Times.

Based in Los Angeles, Oaktree was started in 1995 by Howard Marks and Bruce Karsh, who left the asset manager TCW to form their own firm. Mr. Marks has become well known for his investment memos to Oaktree clients. Those memos form the basis of “The Most Important Thing,” a new book by Mr. Marks released this month.

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