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One Big Bad Debt IPO With Oaktree

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- After recent listings of private equity firms like KKR (KKR) and Apollo Global Management (APO), stock investors will get a chance to put their money in a new corner of Wall Street with the initial public offering of the world's largest distressed debt manager Oaktree Capital Management (OAK) on Friday.

The distressed debt investor -- with $75 billion in assets under management -- is expected to price an IPO on Friday selling 10.3 million shares at a price of between $43 and $46 a share, raising up to $517.5 million.

Los Angeles- based Oaktree Capital Management was formed in 1995 by Howard Marks and six executives from the money manager TCW Group. Marks, who holds about one-sixth of the company's shares, and his partners earn money on investments in distressed debt, real estate, convertible bonds and direct company ownership, mirroring the strategies used by some of the world's largest hedge funds.

Many of the firm's investing strategies revolve around taking interests in struggling or low rated companies that can offer value if turnaround, asset sale or restructuring efforts are successful.

Oaktree filed for an IPO in June 2011 that would raise roughly $100 million, but it held off until 2012 to raise the offering to over 10 million shares or roughly a third of the company's overall shares. Friday's offering could raise as much as $595 million if the company's underwriters, which are led by Goldman Sachs (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS) exercise an option to purchase an additional 15% of the firm's shares.

In the share offering, existing shareholders are expected to sell nearly 1 million shares, with hedge funds investors like Farallon Capital Management, Maverick Capital, JMG Capital Partners and Scroggin Capital Management expected to sell pieces of their stakes, according Bloomberg data gleaned from Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

The share offering won't be the first by Oaktree even though it's shares have never traded on stock markets. In May 2007, Oaktree sold a 15% stake worth roughly $1 billion on a Goldman Sachs private exchange, valuing the company at roughly $6.3 billion. As Oaktree hits public markets, it is expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under ticker "OAK."

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