Private Equity Firm Expands Into Asset-Based Lending Space

Ares Management announced that it has expanded into the commercial finance sector through its acquisition of Keltic Financial Services and Keltic Financial Partners II, a commercial finance company that provides asset-based loans to small- and middle-market companies.

As part of the transaction, Ares acquired Keltic’s existing loan portfolio, which comprises approximately $155 million of commitments, and formed Ares Commercial Finance within Ares’ Direct Lending Group. Ares Commercial Finance will be based in New York and will combine Keltic’s asset-based lending philosophy with Ares’ capital strength and origination capabilities. Ares Commercial Finance expects to provide asset-based credit facilities ranging from $1 million to $30 million.

“The acquisition of Keltic expands Ares’ leading Direct Lending Group into the large and growing asset based lending market with a strong management team that has generated attractive risk adjusted returns for more than 15 years,” commented Mitchell Goldstein, a senior partner in Ares Direct Lending Group. “We are very pleased to welcome Jack Reilly, Jamie Franz, Oleh Szczupak and the entire Keltic team as we believe their expertise in asset based lending will be highly complementary to our leading capabilities in direct lending, allowing us to grow meaningfully in this sector.”

“We believe Ares’ broad direct origination capabilities will greatly improve our deal sourcing and underwriting capabilities,” commented Jack Reilly, who has joined Ares as a partner in the Direct Lending Group. “We believe the strong credit culture, broad investment platform and significant resources at Ares will enable us to provide comprehensive commercial finance solutions to the large and underserved commercial finance segment of the small and middle market.”

“The expansion of our Direct Lending Group into attractive new subsectors of the small and middle market continues to be a meaningful part of our growth strategy,” commented Michael Arougheti, president of Ares. “We see the acquisition of Keltic as an appealing market opportunity to execute on this strategy.”

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