Atlanta Hawks owner accused of ‘hunting fouls’ in finance

The Atlanta Hawks’ rising repute for reasonable fouls comes as no shock to individuals who’ve executed enterprise with the NBA workforce’s billionaire owner, The Post has realized.

Private fairness chief Antony Ressler, who purchased the Hawks in 2015 with a bunch of traders for $850 million, has been creating a repute in monetary circles for a similar unsportsmanlike ways that had NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio accusing Hawks point guard Trae Young of “hunting fouls” following the workforce’s victory over the NY Knicks on Sunday, sources stated.

Some lenders say simply the point out of Ares Management — the $207 billion non-public fairness agency Ressler based in 1997 whereas working along with his financier brother-in-law Leon Black — is sufficient to ship chills down their spines.

“They are as aggressive as you can be,” one distressed lender stated. “They take their straw and stick it in someone else’s milkshake. It’s blood sport.”

And it may come again to hang-out them with some lenders telling The Post they need to keep clear of Ares offers for worry of getting shafted.

“Ares could get locked out of LBO financings,” claimed one lender concerned in a lawsuit towards Ares. “What they are doing is irrational.”

Ressler critics level out three lawsuits they are saying recommend a sample of Ares, which separated from Black’s Apollo Global Management in 2002, pushing the authorized boundaries in its enterprise dealings and rewriting the foundations to profit itself.

The most notorious cautionary story on Wall Street involving Ares is tied to division retailer chain Neiman Marcus, which filed for bankruptcy in 2020.

Ares, which led a $6 billion leveraged buyout of Neiman in 2013, was sued in 2018 for eradicating Neiman’s worthwhile e-commerce division Mytheresa right into a separate holding firm that put it out of attain of Neiman lenders.

The dispute got here to a head final yr and a deal was reached to present Neiman lenders about half of Mytheresa simply earlier than Neiman filed for chapter. But the drama didn’t finish there.

The Neiman offended lender who unsuccessfully sued Ares in 2018, Dan Kamensky of Marble Ridge Capital, ended up getting arrested a number of months later and charged with securities fraud for attempting purchase Mytheresa stakes from fellow lenders with out making the identical provide to all of them.

A choose this month sentenced Kamensky to six months in jail. Even so, some on Wall Street have come to the protection of Kamensky — the son of a company lawyer who earned his personal legislation diploma from Georgetown — arguing that he might by no means have executed what he did if it weren’t for Ares.

In a March 12 letter to the sentencing choose, Ben Steiner, who labored with Kamensky at Paulson & Co., referred to as for leniency, noting that there have been “many bad actors in this case from an ethical and fairness perspective.”

“I don’t think it’s clear at all that Dan should be punished as if he were solely responsible for what happened,” Steiner stated, explaining that “the private equity sponsors were wrong to strip assets out of Neiman Marcus… and further wrong to fight creditors’ efforts to rectify this wrong so viciously.”

An Ares spokesman famous that Ares has not dedicated any wrongdoing. “The Neiman Marcus transaction fully complied with the negotiated provisions to which the lenders agreed. And no one has shown anything to the contrary.”

Ares in January took Mytheresa public. It now boasts a $2.7 billion market worth.

Ares was additionally sued in 2018 by confectionary firm Necco, which claimed that the agency “disregarded [its] fiduciary duty to Necco Candy …to further their own self-interest.”  

The case, filed in Massachusetts chapter court docket, claimed Ares did this by killing a deal the struggling candy company needed to promote its 800,000-square-foot Revere, Mass., warehouse to Cannon Capital for $35 million. The 2016 deal would even have had Cannon purchase Necco for $22 million to fund its relocation and provides it working capital, the lawsuit stated.

Ares as a substitute struck a distinct deal to promote Necco’s warehouse for $54 million, the lawsuit claims. It then had the sweet firm signal a dear lease for the house, which allegedly compelled it to liquidate.

Necco’s roughly 200 staff misplaced their jobs.

Necco claimed Ares was capable of do all this as a result of in May 2016 it had struck a deal to take management of Necco’s father or mother firm, rival non-public fairness agency American Capital, for $4.1 billion. American Capital, in accordance with the go well with, was required on the time to get Ares’ approval for any main modifications involving Necco.

Ares in a press release “categorically” denied having terminated Cannon’s proposed transaction for Necco or having management over Necco throughout that point. “Ares Capital Corporation closed on its acquisition of American Capital in January 2017, and had no control of Necco until then.”

Still, Ares in April agreed to pay $13.5 million to make the case go away, together with $6 million in Necco pension prices. It additionally agreed to share $7.5 million from its $16.5 million sale of Necco’s model to personal fairness purchaser Dean Metropoulos with offended collectors.

The lenders ended up with about 40 cents on the greenback, a supply following the case stated. Ares, in contrast, stored the $54 million it received from the warehouse sale, sources stated.

Lenders of America’s largest restaurant provide firm TriMark are additionally suing Ares in Manhattan Supreme Court over “a cannibalistic assault by one group of lenders in a syndicate against another.”

According to the lawsuit, Ares final yr lower a secret take care of money-losing TriMark to lend it $120 million. In alternate, TriMark agreed to separate its senior lenders, transferring those that lent it new cash into a brand new mortgage group to be paid off in chapter forward of the opposite senior lenders.

Those omitted of the deal, like hedge fund BlueMountain, noticed the worth of their loans rapidly fall from about 78 cents on the greenback to 50 cents.

Meanwhile, the worth of the loans in the Ares group rose in worth, allegedly giving them an instantaneous $68 million revenue, overlaying greater than half of their new TriMark mortgage.

Ares has denied any wrongdoing. “This transaction was supported by a majority of the existing lenders,” it stated in a press release.

But Judge Joel Cohen on April 12 denied the defendant’s movement to dismiss. And consultants say lenders are proper to be upset.

“The type of asset-stripping that’s been happening recently goes beyond hardball,” stated lawyer David Elsberg of Selendy & Gay. “(It) unfairly upends the lenders’ expectations about the bargain they made and the risks they believed they were taking when they decided to buy the bonds in the first place,” he stated of Ares’ restructurings in basic.

Speaking in a May Ares promotional video, Ressler stated, “We have an obsession on performance.” But it seems to be having hassle elevating cash.

Ares final raised an $8 billion flagship non-public fairness fund in 2017. That fund has a 4.8 % web annual fee of return as of March 31, 2021 — properly beneath what traders would possibly get from the S&P 500 throughout the identical time interval.

Ressler’s agency has been attempting to lift an even bigger $9.5 billion fund for not less than 12 months, however has not but held a last closing, sources stated.

An Ares spokesman wouldn’t touch upon the fundraising, however stated Ares has doubled its belongings beneath administration from simply 4 years in the past.

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