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George Hicks

Minneapolis-based Varde Partners, one of the state’s oldest and most active international private equity investors, has raised nearly $2.5 billion for its 13th "flagship" investment fund in 26 years.

The fund, which exceeded its $2 billion target, has the flexibility to invest in a range of credit and credit-related assets globally, including publicly-traded debt, real estate and financial services. Varde has raised other, smaller funds for specific investment strategies.

“Over the past 26 years we have built a global platform with the agility to seek attractive risk-adjusted value in opportunistic credit and asset markets,” said CEO George Hicks. “In this fund, we utilize our deep experience through many market cycles with the flexibility to invest in both private and liquid markets, across capital structures and regions.”

Värde expects the opportunity set to be driven by distressed lenders with high levels of non-performing loans, and cyclical opportunities associated with industry or economic downturns.

“Against a backdrop of intense economic uncertainty, there are several significant pockets of distress around the world today, and we expect that opportunity to grow over the investment period of the fund,” said Ilfryn Carstairs, co-chief Investment Officer. “We have strategically built our right to play in markets where we can target the gaps left behind by traditional capital providers as they continue to retrench.”

The investors included new and long-term sources of capital.

Founded in 1993, by Hicks and retired-CEO Marcia Page, who remains executive chair and and an investor, Varde has invested more than $68 billion since inception and manages over $14 billion on behalf of a global investor base.

The firm has offices Downtown, London, New York, Singapore and elsewhere, employing 300-plus.