AllianzGI pushes further into alternatives with Sound Harbor buy

Deborah Zurkow

The €481 billion German asset manager said in a December 1 statement that it had agreed to by private credit manager Sound Harbor Partners. As part of the deal, Allianz Global Investors will acquire the US firm’s assets for a undisclosed amount. The Sound Harbor team will move over to Allianz as part of the deal.

Allianz Global Investors’ private debt platform sits within its alternatives business, which Zurkow was named head of in May this year. In June, she told FN: “In private debt, we are actually very actively in discussions with some people, private debt is clearly a place [which] fits well into our DNA.”

She added that “everything is on the table” in terms of expansion for the alternatives business, which managed $ 22 billion at the end of the third quarter.

In the statement announcing the Sound Harbor deal, Zurkow said: “We continue to see strong demand from our clients for access to a diverse range of illiquid alternatives solutions.”

A report by Fidelity International, also published on December 1, found that instiutional investors in the UK were looking to increase their allocations to so-called illiquid alternatives, including direct lending.

New York-based Sound Harbor manages investments in corporate loans, direct lending, distressed debt and opportunistic credit. Partner Michael Zupon was previously at private equity firm Carlyle Group, where he founded and led the leveraged finance business. Dean Criares, also a partner at Sound Harbor, was formerly at Blackstone Group, where he founded and led the loan management business.

Zupon said in the statement: “Joining AllianzGI will enhance our ability to capitalise on trends favouring growth in alternative investment managers with scale, brand recognition and long-term capital.”

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017.

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