NEW YORK – November 12, 2008 - Ladder Capital Finance LLC (“Ladder Capital” or “the Company”) today announced it has commenced operations. Based in New York, Ladder Capital is a newly-formed specialty finance company with approximately $1.0 billion of equity and debt capital that will provide comprehensive financing options to the commercial real estate industry.
Ladder Capital will pursue opportunities resulting from the current lack of liquidity and the long term structural changes occurring in the commercial real estate (“CRE”) financing market. Specifically, this will include the purchase, origination and management of a diverse portfolio of CRE mortgages, including fixed-rate and interim floating-rate mortgages, junior interests in mortgages and mezzanine loans and commercial mortgage-backed securities.
Ladder Capital is comprised of a highly experienced team of industry veterans with deep relationships and expertise in all aspects of CRE lending and investment. Brian Harris, formerly Managing Director and Head of Global Commercial Real Estate at UBS, leads the team as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer. He is joined by Greta Guggenheim, President; Marc Fox, Chief Financial Officer; Pamela McCormack, General Counsel and Head of Transaction Management; and Robert Perelman, Head of Asset Management.
The management team has an average of 18 years of industry experience, the majority of which time they spent working together at UBS and Credit Suisse. Ladder Capital currently has a total of 11 employees and expects to have approximately 25 people by the end of its first full year of operation.
Brian Harris, Chief Executive Officer of Ladder Capital commented, “While Ladder Capital is a new business, our senior management team is experienced and well-established in our industry. We have been working together for more than a decade and have an excellent track record of managing risk, particularly in difficult markets such as these.
“In the short term, we will be looking to use the strength of our new balance sheet to pursue opportunities arising from the current disparity between supply and demand in the commercial real estate financing market. We will enter the market cautiously and use our collective experience in the credit markets to selectively acquire assets.”
Mr. Harris and his team are joined by Alan Fishman, who will serve as the Company’s Chairman of the Board. Mr. Fishman has extensive experience in the financial services industry, most recently as the Chief Executive Officer of Washington Mutual. From June 2006 to December 2006, Mr. Fishman served as President of Sovereign Bancorp (“Sovereign”). In June 2006, Sovereign acquired Independence Community Bank Corp, where Mr. Fishman served as President and CEO from March 2001 until its sale to Sovereign.
TowerBrook Capital Partners L.P., a New York- and London-based private equity firm, and GI Partners, a Menlo Park, California- and London-based private equity firm, are the co-lead investors in Ladder Capital. Principals of Meridian Capital Group, LLC, one of the largest CRE mortgage brokers in the United States, are also investors in Ladder Capital.
Jonathan Bilzin of TowerBrook Capital Partners commented, “At TowerBrook, we believe in partnering with exceptional people. Brian and his team have worked together for more than a decade, and when TowerBrook first identified them, we quickly recognized them as a uniquely innovative and skilled team of real estate lenders and investors with a long and established track record of success. We look forward to working with the Ladder Capital team and helping them grow and develop the business.”
Howard Park from GI Partners said, “We are pleased to be investing with the best-in-class management team at Ladder Capital. Over the past year, GI Partners’ goal was to create a specialty finance company that would flourish in the rapidly changing commercial real estate finance industry. With management’s experience, a strong balance sheet, and a clear execution strategy, we believe Ladder Capital is uniquely positioned to become a leader in the industry.”
Brian Harris added, “We are delighted to be partnering with such strong financial partners as TowerBrook Capital Partners and GI Partners to build a first class specialty finance company. Both companies have a terrific reputation for working alongside management teams to provide capital and investment expertise that firms need to grow and become leaders in their industry.”