GSC's Eckert Returns With New Firm

May 30 2013 | 12:29pm ET

Three years after his first hedge fund collapsed—and two after a frightening brush with death—GSC Capital founder Fred Eckert is back.

Eckert has launched a new firm, Phoenix Star Capital. Phoenix Star has already raised $100 million, and plans to launch a collateralized debt obligation and distressed debt funds, as well as providing consultancy services. And Eckert is seeking more, telling Reuters that in spite of GSC's implosion, "I'm not afraid of being able to raise substantial amounts," and two of his possible seeders are "billionaire names you'd know."

And even though Phoenix Star is just getting off the ground—rising from the ashes, as Eckert would no doubt have it—Eckert already has big plans for the firm, including a London office within two years.

Phoenix Star hopes to profit buying debt securities backed by loans banks are offloading to improve their capital ratios. "There are good investment opportunities in bankruptcies, because the British bankruptcy code has been modified, and there are good opportunities in mezzanine lending."

GSC went under in 2010 after hemorrhaging money during the credit crisis, eventually selling its assets to Black Diamond Capital Management. Just a year later, Eckert had a bad reaction to mixing alcohol and prescription drugs, and wound up in a coma for two months.

"It's a miracle," he said. "I should be dead."


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