Major Obama Bundler Goes Long on Europe

• July 23, 2012 11:29 am


Private equity executive and major Obama fundraiser Marc Lasry is making a big investment in troubled European companies.

According to the New York Times, Lasry has committed approximately $75 million of his own money to a new $3 billion fund to invest in the debt of European companies:

Now, even as Europe’s economic problems worsen and the markets punish giants like Spain and Italy, Mr. Lasry is betting on a long-term comeback for the Continent. This month, his hedge fund, Avenue Capital, finished raising nearly $3 billion for a fund that will invest in the debt of troubled European companies.

He has committed roughly $75 million of his own money to the new fund. That’s still a small part of his estimated $1.3 billion fortune, but Mr. Lasry is among a coterie of hedge fund and private equity managers who are gambling that the euro zone will stay intact and revive over the long run. […]

Last week, renewed worries about Spain’s ability to keep borrowing sent stocks in Europe tumbling and sparked about a 1 percent decline Friday on Wall Street, though the major United States indexes were up slightly for the week. Mr. Lasry and Richard P. Furst, a senior portfolio manager at Avenue who directs the European strategy, say they expect worries about the Continent to keep rattling the markets, creating buying opportunities for the new fund.

Lasry, the chief executive officer of the private-equity hedge fund Avenue Capital Group, is a major Obama campaign fundraiser, ranking among the campaign's top 20 bundlers.

He has raised $850,000 for President Obama's reelection campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Lasry hosted a $35,800-per-person dinner for the president in March, and will host another dinner fundraiser this month. One of Lasry's children recently worked in the White House, according to the Times.

In May, Lasry defended both his support for the president and the work of private equity industry in an interview with CNBC.