High profile PE fund and distressed debt group take stake in family business

Tree connections: Oaktree invests in lumber...

Tree connections: Oaktree invests in lumber...

Oaktree Capital Management, a distressed debt specialist and private equity fund, has taken an undisclosed stake in a mid-sized family business called Sterling Lumber Company. The deal happened at the end of last year and no price information was disclosed.

Based in Los Angeles, Oaktree specialises in acquiring companies facing difficulties and turning them around. Two of its more high-profile investments are surf groups Billabong and Quiksilver. There are no details on whether the Sterling deal was due to the distressed nature of its finances. In fact, Sterling has been one of the fastest growing lumber groups in North America in recent years. The Illinois-based group grew by 569% in the five-year period up to 2016.

Family owned since 1949, Sterling is now led by the third generation under Carter Sterling as CEO and his three brothers as managers.

Oaktree was founded by billionaires Howard Marks and Bruce Karsh, two of America’s most successful investors. Marks writes an occasional investment commentary piece known as the Oaktree’s Memos, which have a big following in the US.