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NEW YORK CITY-The Blackstone Group has expanded its debt group by entering the European marketplace. The group was established in 1998 and has grown to nearly $5 billion in commitments and assets under management.

According to published reports, the locally based firm has hired Debra Anderson to serve as managing director in an effort to establish Blackstone’s presence as a manager of non-investment grade assets issued by companies throughout Europe. She will be based in London.

“We’ve been preparing to enter that market for years,” explains Howard Gellis, head of Blackstone’s Corporate Debt Group. He says the expansion was based on the success of the firm’s private equity and real estate businesses in Europe as well as an assessment of the growing institutionalization of the European debt market.

In her most recent position, Anderson was the leveraged loan portfolio manager for Intermediate Capital Group PLC where she was responsible for four European CDOs. Prior to that she established and ran an acquisition finance lending business for a major European bank. Blackstone’s debt group currently manages five CDOs, with approximately $3 billion of assets and a mezzanine fund which is currently investing in excess of $1 billion of commitments.

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