Antares Capital is weighing an acquisition of European rival Hayfin Capital Management, a combination that would create a new private credit behemoth, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Antares, backed by CPP Investments and Northleaf Capital Partners, is interested in acquiring Hayfin as a way to quickly expand its European footprint, said the people, asking not to be identified discussing private talks. Formal negotiations between the parties haven't commenced, and it's possible another buyer emerges for Hayfin.
"We are always considering opportunities that advance our strategic objectives and create value," said Carol Ann Wharton, a spokeswoman for Antares Capital.
Representatives for Hayfin and Northleaf declined to comment. CPP Investments, which manages the C$570 billion ($417 billion) Canada Pension Plan, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
A combination of Antares, which had more than $64 billion of capital under management and administration as of June 30, and Hayfin, which manages €30 billion ($32 billion) of assets, would create one of the largest stand-alone credit managers. It'd be comparable in size to rivals including HPS Investment Partners, which oversaw about $104 billion as of August.
Founded in 1996, Chicago-based Antares is led by CEO Tim Lyne. CPP Investments in 2015 acquired GE Capital's sponsor finance business, including Antares. The following year, the pension giant sold a 16% stake to Northleaf.
Hayfin, owned by British Columbia Investment Management Corp. along with Hayfin's management and employees, has been exploring options including a potential sale, Bloomberg News reported last month. The London-based firm was founded in 2009 by former Goldman Sachs Group executives Tim Flynn and Mark Tognolini.
BCI, with C$215 billion ($158.7 billion) in assets as of March 31, also didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this year, Antares hired an executive from Hayfin as its first employee outside North America. Sheila Pejavar Brown "will undoubtedly be a strong asset to our firm as we look to further deepen our relationships and build our presence in the U.K. and European markets," Lyne said in a statement at the time.