Goldman Eyes $14 Billion for Its Largest Fund Since 2008 Crisis


Goldman Sachs Group Inc. boosted the size of a new credit fund to $14 billion in what is shaping up to be one of the largest debut investment vehicles ever raised.

The bank, which set out with a target of $5 billion to $10 billion, is now expecting to finish fundraising with a $14 billion war chest to pour into companies in need of fresh liquidity. A Goldman representative confirmed the goal for the first in a new family of funds, called West Street Strategic Solutions Fund I.

The $14 billion mark is notable for the first iteration of a fund series new to investors. Such funds seldom crack $10 billion on their first go-round barring one exception: the $100 billion SoftBank Vision Fund, which is in a league of its own.

The Goldman credit fund will provide a boost to the bank’s goal of raising $100 billion for investing in what’s known in the industry as alternatives. Instead of guiding client cash into plain-vanilla asset classes such as stocks and bonds, the funds are focused on seeking outsize returns in less-trafficked corners of the market including distressed credit, real estate and private equity.

Fundraising success will also help cement Julian Salisbury’s profile as one of Goldman’s most powerful executives. The 48-year-old Brit has climbed rapidly, from running a secretive and successful group betting Goldman’s money inside its trading group, to now helping run a newly created division that rivals the firm’s dealmaking group in size and profitability, second only to the markets division.

The biggest fund Goldman Sachs has ever raised, in what was previously its merchant bank, was a $20 billion private equity fund, in 2007.

Goldman set off to raise the new opportunistic credit fund as the rapidly spreading Covid-19 pandemic jolted markets earlier this year. Even as broader market measures have stabilized and rebounded since then, the disparate impact across industries has left many companies still in need of fresh cash to keep their finances stable.

The fund is a tie-up between the team that runs Goldman’s private-credit business and the special-situations group. Even though it’s a debut fund in a new series, investors did have the benefit of peering into the track record of SSG, which has helped lift Goldman’s profits over the years.

The fund has already started investing, most notably pouring $1.2 billion into American Airlines Group Inc. The investment was structured as a debt deal backed by the airline’s brand and collateral including airport landing slots at New York’s LaGuardia and Washington’s Reagan National.