Intesa and Blackstone to launch joint Italian direct lending initiative

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Italian banking group Intesa Sanpaolo and GSO Capital Partners, the global credit and distressed investment subsidiary of Blackstone have partnered to provide an alternative source of funding to Italian middle market businesses.

This partnership will expand the availability of private debt capital in Italy, and follows recent changes to the Italian legal and regulatory framework.

Corporate clients of the Italian banking group as well as the broader Italian middle market corporate universe are targeted.

Giovanni Gilli, head of Capital Light Bank at Intesa Sanpaolo, said: “Intesa Sanpaolo considers the partnership with GSO/Blackstone, an institution with a strong expertise and reputation in European private credit asset class, a significant opportunity to support its corporate clients.”

Tripp Smith, co-founder of GSO Capital Partners, commented : “It is a unique opportunity for us to access the Italian corporate mid-market given Intesa Sanpaolo’s incumbency and deep relationships across all sectors.  Our ability to provide flexible and long-term private debt capital via this partnership will differentiate our two firms, and ultimately benefit the Italian corporate borrower.”

Intesa Sanpaolo’s market capitalisation exceeds €50bn. The group serves 11.1 million Italian customers spread in approximately 4,500 branches.

It is also present in central Eastern Europe, Middle Eastern and North African areas with around 8.4 million customers in 12 countries.

GSO Capital Partners, focused on the leveraged-finance marketplace, has around $73bn (€67.95bn) of assets under management.

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