The Real Deal New York

Moving on: Anthony Scaramucci taps new partner for $3B Opportunity Zone fund

The Mooch's hedge fund SkyBridge split with its former partner EJF earlier in January
By Eddie Small | January 28, 2019 03:55PM

Anthony Scaramucci (Credit: Getty Images)

Well that was fast.

Anthony Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Capital has found a new partner for its $3 billion Opportunity Zone fund, less than two weeks after ending its venture with EJF Capital.

The Mooch’s hedge fund is bringing on Westport Capital Partners, an investment management company with offices in Connecticut, California, Montana and the United Kingdom, SkyBridge announced Monday.

Westport Capital Partners’ Russel Bernard (Credit: SALT Conference)

SkyBridge previously partnered with Manny Friedman’s EJF Capital on the project, but the firms split up earlier this month. At the time, SkyBridge cited concerns from its distribution partners about the lack of experience EJF had managing real estate funds.

It appears that this will be less of an issue with Westport. The firm boasts on its website that its team of principals “collectively have over 100 years of real estate investment management, operating, consulting, and brokerage services experience.” It had about $2 billion of assets under management as of the end of September, and its recent moves include breaking ground on a 450,000-square-foot industrial park near Savannah and selling an 89-unit multifamily building in Santa Barbara for $56.2 million, according to the company.

Westport declined to comment on the partnership.

SkyBridge and Westport already had a longstanding relationship prior to partnering on the fund, according to SkyBridge president Brett Messing. He described the firm and its founder Russel Bernard as “a perfect fit for this.”

“He’s got a great track record,” Messing said of Bernard. “He’s done significant amounts of development and redevelopment which, as you’re aware, is what’s required under the Opportunity Zone regulations, and he specializes primarily in distressed real estate throughout the country.”

Westport should alleviate the concerns from distribution partners about SkyBridge’s sub-adviser not having a track record, according to Messing. The Opportunity Zone fund, which is structured as a REIT, will not change apart from the new partner, he said.

“The REIT just sort of continues on,” he said. “Same structure, same terms, same mission.”