Ares acquires investment platform of Wrightwood Capital

Ares Management LLC has acquired the investment platform of Wrightwood Capital, a highly respected provider of debt capital to the US commercial real estate sector. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"This transaction represents a unique opportunity to further build out the Ares Private Debt Group by adding specific industry expertise from a talented group of professionals and expanding our reach into commercial real estate lending--an area we see having attractive long-term growth opportunities," says Tony Ressler, Senior Partner and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Ares Management. "This asset class will be supported by our experienced pool of investment professionals in corporate credit, extensive infrastructure and superior risk management tools."

As a result of this transaction, more than 40 Wrightwood professionals have joined the Ares Private Debt Group to focus on middle-market lending in the commercial real estate sector. They will be part of the Ares Commercial Real Estate, or "ACRE", investment team, which will be headquartered in Chicago with other offices in Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Newport Beach, and Washington, DC ACRE will be led by John Bartling, a Senior Partner of ACRE and the Global Head of Real Estate at Ares Management, and by former Wrightwood CEO Bruce Cohen, who has been appointed as a Senior Partner of ACRE.

"The Ares Commercial Real Estate business plan that John and Bruce are implementing is patterned after what we have accomplished at Ares Capital Corporation--where we have a dedicated team located across the US that is delivering flexible capital solutions to middle-market companies," said Michael Arougheti, Senior Partner of Ares Management and Global Head of the Ares Private Debt Group. "I believe ACRE will ultimately replicate the kind of success we continue to have at ARCC--where clients have come to expect creative structuring solutions for their borrowing needs."

All of Wrightwood's commercial real estate assets and sponsored funds will be managed by the ACRE team, and benefit from the significant resources and investment expertise of Ares Management. In addition, Ares Management retained Wrightwood's designation as a general and special servicer by Standard & Poor's.

"We believe this transaction benefits all of our stakeholders and validates the commitment they made to the Wrightwood team and platform," says Cohen. "This is also an excellent opportunity to grow the platform we created with the support of a world class asset manager in order to better serve our long-standing client base."

"The addition of the Wrightwood investment platform enhances ACRE's ability to address a significant and growing need for financing solutions in middle-market commercial real estate," says Bartling. "We have seen this story unfold in middle-market corporate credit and the ability for ARCC to continuously take meaningful market share from traditional lenders who are under pressure to withdraw and/or are unable to adapt. By adopting ARCC's flexible approach to private debt, we believe ACRE is well-positioned to achieve meaningful growth for years to come with a compelling offering to owners and operators of commercial real estate."