Oaktree Disappoints In NYSE Debut

Shares of buyout firm Oaktree Capital Group opened 5 percent below their initial public offering price April 12 in the company’s NYSE debut. Shares of the Los Angeles-based company opened at $41, after pricing Wednesday at the low end of the expected range; the company sold fewer shares than anticipated, sister news service Reuters reported.

Oaktree, which had $75 billion of assets under management as of the end of 2011, priced 8.84 million shares at $43, raising $380.3 million. It had intended to sell 11.3 million shares at between $43 and $46 each. The offering valued Oaktree at around $6.5 billion.

Oaktree’s IPO is viewed by some investors as a litmus test for a public offering from The Carlyle Group, which was expected to kick off its IPO roadshow this month.

Carlyle is seeking to raise between $701.5 million and $762.5 million as the company presses on with an initial public offering that is expected in early May, a person familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

Carlyle, apparently undeterred, filed registration paperwork days later that said the firm was looking to raise between $701.5 million and $762.5 million in its initial public offering, valuing the company at as much as $7.61 billion, as it presses on with plans to catch up with publicly traded rivals.

A roadshow for Carlyle was to start this week with its founders—William Conway, Daniel D’Aniello and David Rubenstein—set to join the marketing efforts as three teams are dispatched to present to investors.

Private equity firms have not fared well in the public markets. The Blackstone Group, the world’s largest private equity firm, has lost around half its market value since its IPO in 2007, before the financial crisis took hold in the U.S.

Oaktree first sold about 13 percent of itself to clients in 2004 and then sold 16 percent of itself for net proceeds of $944.2 million to outside institutional investors in 2007 in a private placement.

Oaktree founders Howard Marks and Bruce Karsh founded Oaktree Capital Management in 1995 with four other partners, all coming from asset manager TCW Group Inc. Marks and Karsh each had a net worth of $1.5 billion as of March 2012, according to Forbes.

(Olivia Oran and Tanya Agrawal are correspondents for Reuters in New York.)