Worst Year Ever For Canyon Hedge Funds

Dec 11 2008 | 5:49am ET

Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Canyon Capital Advisors has seen better days. In fact, the $19 billion hedge fund, founded by Drexel Burnham Lambert veterans Joshua Friedman and Mitchell Julis, is having its worst year ever, in line with the many of its peers.

According to public databases, the firm’s $55 million Canyon Capital Arbitrage Fund Capital and $2.9 billion Value Realization Fund,  a multi-strat offering, are down 39.02% and 25.14% respectively, through October. Its Balanced Equity Fund, a $268 million eraktively more concentrated version of the firm's flagship fund, is down 15.71% through September.

The firm declined to comment on its performance.

Canyon has been in the news lately in connection with the New Jersey Division of Investment, which committed $49.5 million to the Canyon Special Opportunities Fund on the same day as a controversial bailout of a BlackRock hedge fund.

According to a memo from the division, New Jersey pumped in fresh capital to Canyon because of the fund’s use of leverage combined with the unprecedented fall in bank loan prices, resulting in a need for additional investor capital to meet loan facility margin requirements.

“The alternative would have been for the funds to sell a portion of these loans at artificially depressed levels, an option we did not believe was prudent,” said the division. “In order to reduce leverage and avoid the forced selling of investments at distressed prices, both general partners chose to recapitalize their existing funds with additional capital. They plan to use the additional capital to reduce their leverage, meet margin calls and create a significant cushion in their respective financing facilities.”


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