Distressed shop GDA Luma set to launch, anchored by billionaires Boehly, Claure

GDA Luma is the brainchild of Gabriel de Alba, who for more than 25 years has been a control/influence investor in complex, distressed and special situations deals, including as a partner with Catalyst Capital.

GDA Luma Capital, led by veteran distressed investor Gabriel de Alba, is getting ready to raise a debut fund anchored by two high-profile billionaires.

Recent ADV filings identified Todd Boehly, co-founder and CEO of private investment firm Eldridge, as one of the investors.

Boehly, estimated by Forbes to have a net worth of $5.3 billion, is also an owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Lakers. Last year, he partnered with Clearlake Capital to acquire Europe’s Chelsea Football Club, reportedly for $3.1 billion.

The ADV filings identified Marcelo Claure, founder and CEO of Claure Group, a multi-billion-dollar family office, as the second investor.

Claure formerly held senior executive roles at Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group, including COO and head of SoftBank’s international portfolio. Earlier, he was CEO of telecom giant Sprint, leading its turnaround and 2020 merger with T-Mobile.

Other disclosed backers include Michel Combes, another former SoftBank executive, and Security Benefit Life Insurance Company, an Eldridge affiliate.

GDA Luma is the brainchild of de Alba, who for more than 25 years has been a control/influence investor in complex, distressed and special situations deals. He remains a partner with Catalyst Capital, founded in 2002 by Newton Glassman, an ex-managing director at Cerberus Capital Management.

Catalyst has of late been monetizing investments out of past funds, Buyouts reported in 2021. At the time, the firm had no plans for future fundraising but was not ruling it out. De Alba was then already preparing to launch a separate fund that would retain some ties with Catalyst.

De Alba has played a key role in Catalyst’s biggest deals. He is chairman of several portfolio companies, among them Cirque du Soleil, the famed circus operator that emerged from bankruptcy three years ago and was sold to a lender consortium led by Catalyst.

GDA Luma’s strategy is expected to build on de Alba’s experience. It will invest in distressed mid-market businesses operating in pharma and healthcare, hospitality, technology, media and telecom and other sectors, sources told Buyouts. Opportunities will be sourced mostly in North America, as well as in the UK and Europe.

Dealmaking will aim to gain control of, or significant influence over, companies undergoing distress, sources said. This will be done by acquiring over-collateralized debt at a discount to intrinsic value and below liquidation value.

GDA Luma’s debut fund, unveiled in December, has to date secured $235 million in initial commitments, according to ADV filings. Its target is not known. The placement agents are Atlantic-Pacific Capital and FocusPoint Private Capital Group.

Emerging managers are today facing a brutal fundraising market. LPs, a large share of them cash-strapped, have tended to emphasize re-ups with incumbent GPs. They have for this reason often neglected new relationships, even pedigreed teams with attractive strategies.

GDA Luma is perhaps being given a leg-up by its two billionaire investors, who are likely to draw the attention of other LPs.

The firm may also benefit from continuing economic uncertainty and volatility, including the potential for a recession, as these conditions could spawn a large volume of distressed dealflow.

GDA Luma declined to provide a comment on this story.