Hedge fund with $24 billion betting on oil services, avoiding retail


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Joshua Friedman, co-chairman and co-chief executive officer of Canyon Partners LLC,

Canyon Partners Co-CEO Joshua Friedman said he’s finding value in mergers and acquisitions and is “very cautious” on entering the retail space.

“We’ve deployed a fair amount of capital recently in oil services,” Friendman told CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin on Tuesday. “There are a lot of companies that are very competent services companies that couldn’t survive the transition from $100 oil to $40 or $30 dollar oil without restructuring their balance sheets. Those are the places you go to pick up dollars for 50 cents.”

Canyon has more than $24 billion in assets and specializes in credit-oriented investments for endowments, with strategies focused on bank debt, distressed debt, high-yield and convertible bonds. Friedman said he was concerned about investing in the retail sector.

“That’s one of the scarier ones,” Friedman said of retail. “How cheap does it have to be in retail to decide you’re going to wade into that? Some of those companies are companies that will be permanently gone.”

“We’re very cautious in that area.”

The retail sector has been shaken with the rise of e-commerce and Amazon, which fanned fears earlier this year after its acquisition of Whole Foods. Many on Wall Street now speculate that Amazon could venture into its own clothing lines as well as pharmaceutical sales in the next few years.

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