SAC nabs Blackstone mezz pro

Hedge fund goliath SAC Capital Advisors has hired Blackstone mezzanine professional Mark Gudis to create a major new ‘flexible’ private debt platform.

One of the world’s largest hedge funds is getting into the middle-market lending business. SAC Capital Advisors, based in Stamford, Connecticut and led by Steven A. Cohen, has hired Mark Gudis away from The Blackstone Group to launch a new private debt business.

Gudis, a managing director in Blackstone’s mezzanine finance group, will join SAC on May 1. His departure from the firm has been amicable, according to a source.

The story was originally reported in Hedge Fund Alert.

SAC has roughly $10 billion (€8 billion) in assets under management. The firm is best known for its huge volume of rapid-fire stock trading.

Like other major hedge funds, including DE Shaw and Farallon Capital, SAC is attracted to the relatively consistent returns generated by debt investment programmes.

A source familiar with the situation said the SAC will be the sole source of funding for the new business. The debt platform will be given a broad mandate to invest in many different tranches of the capital structure, as well as in special situations such as debtor-in-possession financings. Focus of the business will largely be on middle-market transactions in the US, often in conjunction with private equity sponsors.

Prior to joining Blackstone in 1999, Gudis was at GE Capital. At Blackstone he specialised in transaction development.

SAC also plans on staffing up the debt investment team to perform independent due diligence on deals.

Blackstone’s mezzanine group is led by senior managing director Howard Gellis and includes Salvatore Gentile, Vincent Lu and Brian Spenner.