Philadelphia-based FS Investments says it plans to combine four of the private business-development-company investment funds that the company sponsors with KKR Credit Advisors into a $9 billion-asset company, with investments in 200 companies across 20 industries, to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The move would create the second-largest publicly traded U.S. business-development company after $15-billion-asset Ares Capital Corp. Business development companies are tax-protected investment funds that invest mostly in secured loans to large private companies and other non-traded assets. The combined company may be given a new name, but none has been selected, Michael Gerber, FS senior managing director for corporate affairs said Monday.
The combination would shave $11 million off the $31 million currently paid by investors in legal, administrative, printing, and other expenses for those four funds, with total client assets of $9 billion, added Gerber.
If shareholders approve, FS Investment Corporations III and VI and Corporate Capital Trust II will be merged into FS Investment Corporation II by year’s end.
To sweeten the deal for investors, the new company would issue around $1 billion of “perpetual preferred equity” shares — senior to its common stock — yielding a 5.5 percent annual dividend to common shareholders.
Although FS says it will be able to run the combined funds more cheaply and enable investors who want to sell the funds to liquidate more easily, it also says the move won’t directly affect its employee headcount and may attract new investors.
FS was set up to become the “Vanguard Group of alternative investing” in junk bonds, energy, and other mostly non-traded investments. It employs around 350 nationwide, including 260 at its Navy Yard headquarters.
FS’s investors are generally those with at least $70,000 in investable assets, though it also has institutional investors and high net worth investors.
Among its recent senior hires are Vincent Amatulli, formerly of Broadridge Financial Solutions and Goldman Sachs in New York, who took over as senior managing director and chief technology and operations officer in January from Zach Klehr; Robert Stark, formerly of JPMorgan Asset Management, New York, who took over late last year as FS’s senior managing director of corporate development, replacing Mike Carter; and Marc Bryant, senior managing director and chief legal officer, who left Fidelity Investments in Boston to take the job, starting June 10.