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Marathon raises $900 million for asset-based loans as banks flee

Distressed-debt titan Marathon Asset Management has raised $900 million for extending asset-backed loans to companies that may be struggling to find financing, as a pullback from major lenders has allowed alternative asset managers to step in.

The firm will invest in loans in health care, real estate, equipment and transportation, as well as corporate sectors backed by contractual cash flows, according to a statement Tuesday. Collateral may include intellectual property rights and royalties from FDA approved drugs and medical devices, as well as aircraft, real estate and structured consumer loans, Marathon principal Ed Cong said in the statement.

“As certain borrowers and legacy asset owners continue to have limited access to efficient markets, we have a compelling opportunity to provide innovative capital solutions through loans backed by strategic, mission-critical assets across a range of sectors,” Cong said.

Marathon joins other players in the $850 billion private credit market taking advantage of an opening in asset-backed lending. Asset manager White Oak Global Advisors said this month it has been lending to companies whose financing needs are too small for banks to be involved, while KKR & Co. is also capitalizing on a retreat from more traditional market participants.

Founded by Bruce Richards and Louis Hanover in 1998, Marathon invests in the credit and real estate markets, and has some $20 billion of capital under management. It raised $2.5 billion for a new fund focused on struggling companies earlier this month, Bloomberg reported, and has looked to invest in sectors like travel and hospitality that have been hit hard in the pandemic.

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