Private debt - 10 largest private debt funds find opportunity in tight lending market

Private debt managers are building up their war chests as a tighter debt market, made worse by the current banking crisis, creates opportunities for alternative lenders.

While private debt fundraising last year slowed down from 2021's record pace, the total capital raised by fund managers—which topped the $200 billion mark—remained relatively high to historic levels.

Private debt fund managers are pitching to investors a variety of strategies that are targeting new opportunities across direct lending, distressed debt and asset-based lending.

Unsurprisingly, the two largest funds in the market now, according to PitchBook data, are direct lending funds: Ares Capital Europe VI and Oaktree Lending Partners.

Direct lenders have been gradually eating up leveraged loan market share in the years following the last financial crisis. The heightened economic uncertainty in the past few months has seen banks tighten lending standards and retreat from financing large leveraged buyouts. Some direct lenders have become more risk averse.

The dearth of debt funding will likely lead to a deal environment that favors lenders, allowing them to structure loans with stronger covenants and larger spreads. Furthermore, the likelihood of a possible recession and more restructuring has created opportunities for managers pursuing special situations and distressed debt investments.

Here is a complete list of the 10 largest private debt funds currently raising money.