New Crestline team to sniff out niche exit opportunities

The credit specialist has hired a former PineBridge Investments secondaries specialist as it launches a fund restructuring business that also offers preferred equity.

Crestline Investors, a private debt specialist, has established a credit and fund restructuring team to assist general partners and limited partners exit their investments outside the secondaries markets, it said on Wednesday.

The team will target “niche opportunities”, and will work with GPs to help them maximise the value of their assets.

The move was motivated by current market conditions; Texas-based Crestline said there were around $400 billion in private equity assets currently tied up in funds that have reached, or are near, their maturity dates.

“GPs and LPs are looking for alternative financing and liquidity solutions not met by traditional secondaries markets. We want to help fill the current gap in the market by working directly with GPs and LPs to identify an exit strategy that fulfils the needs of all parties,” Amit Mahajan, co-head of the team, said.

Crestline has previous experience of launching niche strategies. In 2008 it sought to capitalise on the hedge fund secondaries market which emerged from the financial crisis, and in 2013 it established the Crestline-Kirchner initiative which seeks to acquire, manage and invest in underperforming private equity assets, portfolios and funds.

“After deploying more than $1 billion across three funds, we are refocusing out efforts on what we feel is the next cyclical opportunity set,” Douglas Bratton, managing partner and chief investment officer at Crestline said.

David Philipp, who has been with Crestline since 2013, will co-head the team with new hire Mahajan.

Mahajan joins Crestline from Macquarie Asset Management, where he was responsible for sourcing and executing private debt transactions, with a focus on secondaries private equity deals and portfolio financing for private equity funds.

Previously he was director at PineBridge Investments, where he helped build the firm’s secondaries private equity platform.

The team also includes three specialist portfolio managers and a senior associate.

Fort Worth-headquartered Crestline has around $9.5 billion in assets under management and specialises in credit and opportunistic investments. It also manages a market-neutral hedge fund. It has other offices in New York, Chicago, London and Toronto.