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March 24, 2017  

Scavone, Loeb Roll Out Mezz-Lending Shop

Veteran high-yield investor Frank Scavone has teamed up with hedge fund honcho Daniel Loeb to launch a commercial real estate lending business.

Trawler Capital aims to originate $150 million of subordinate debt in its first 12 months. Scavone, former head of CBRE Capital, and Loeb, who runs New York hedge fund operator Third Point, are 50/50 partners in the new firm, based in Roslyn, N.Y. Scavone leads the investment program.

Trawler can originate mezzanine loans, B-notes and preferred-equity stakes that bring the total leverage on properties up to around 80%. The investments will be held either by an open-end fund that the company is setting up or by Loeb’s family office.

Late last year, Scavone began raising capital for the operation and assembling his team. Richard Spinelli, formerly at Nomura and Starwood Capital, oversees investments in the Eastern U.S., while Joe Laderer, an alumnus of Guggenheim and Deutsche Bank, heads activity in the West. Both are managing directors, as is Jerry Bright, who focuses on business development and previously worked in the new-business unit at Third Point. Ted Noel, who previously worked at Summit Strategies, is a senior advisor and former Neuberger Berman staffer Michael Olivieri is an assistant vice president.

Scavone had been president of CBRE Capital, which he joined in 2008 and left in 2014. During that time, the debt platform of CBRE Global managed open- and closed-end funds with capital commitments of more than $900 million. It co-invested with Third Point on a handful of deals.

Trawler is taking a conservative approach in choosing its debt investments, Scavone said. “We are currently underwriting loss severity consistent with 2005-vintage loans, and thus are investing very cautiously into solid credits,” he said.