GreenOak closes in on distressed debt for US fund

John Carrafiell’s GreenOak Real Estate is close to acquiring a piece of distressed US debt with an eye to taking control of the underlying asset, following a $150m first closing for its debut US fund earlier this year. GreenOak US is targeting 15- 20% returns by buying office, retail and hotel properties, as well as distressed debt. It has an overall equity target of $400m.

In July, GreenOak bought a half-let office tower in New York in partnership with East End Capital for $30m. In Europe, it has concentrated on advisory work so far, mainly in the UK, Germany and Spain. GreenOak has closed six assignments this year, including advising a financial institution on its real estate portfolio, with a focus on a strategy for some of the loans it has taken back.

It is advising a pan-European company on a refinancing strategy for loan maturities in 2012 and 2013, as well as advising a private equity fund on refinancing a €400m asset. The company also advised on the sale of a block of Songbird Estate shares. GreenOak was founded in 2010 by Carrafiell and his former Morgan Stanley colleagues Sonny Kalsi and Fred Schmidt.