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WhiteStar enters European market with MacKay Shields CLO takeover

Euros competing against dollars

Texas-based CLO manager plans to issue deals in Europe under Trinitas brand

Texas-based WhiteStar Asset Management has expanded into the European market by absorbing MacKay Shields' European CLO platform. As part of the move it will bring on board Brian McNamara and Conor Power, both managing directors at MacKay Shields Europe Investment Management, and the rest of the CLO team in Dublin.

The US firm will also assume the management contracts of two European CLOs issued by MacKay Shields in 2019 and 2020 for €560m.

The firm has also said that it will take over two CLOs issued by MacKay Shields in the US in 2017.

WhiteStar Asset Management, the credit arm of Clearlake Capital Group, is a repeat CLO manager with more than 18 deals under its belt.

It issues under the Trinitas brand and has been active in the primary market this year, with multiple refinancings and four new CLOs.

The US firm opened a London office in April, headed by executive chairman Gordon Neilly, and it announced its ambition to expand in Europe, where it was considering the acquisition of an existing platform.

The MacKay Shields European loan investment and operations team are expected to join the newly formed WhiteStar Europe and create an eight-person outfit, based in Dublin and London.

As well as assuming the investment management of MacKay Shields' CLOs, WhiteStar Europe plans to issue new deals in Europe under its brand, Trinitas.

The firm has also said that it will seek to assume the rights and obligations related to MacKay Shields US CLO 1 and 2.

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