NEW YORK, March 31 (Reuters) - Credit investment and private equity firm Ares Management LP filed to go public on Monday in what would be the first initial public offering by a major alternative asset manager since Carlyle Group LP's offering two years ago.
Ares said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission it planned to list on the New York Stock Exchange. It proposed raising up to $100 million, though such amount is typically a placeholder that is revised closer to an IPO.
Shares of Ares' publicly listed peers rallied in 2013 but have been relatively flat and some have even fallen since the start of the year, suggesting valuations for these firms may have reached a temporary peak after red-hot capital markets enabled them to post record profits.
In the filing, Ares disclosed that its economic net income, which takes into account the mark-to-market value of its investments, fell 18.5 percent to $329 million. Distributable earnings, which show cash generated to pay dividends, rose 1 percent to $306 million.
The Los Angeles-based firm has in the past snubbed an IPO in favor of a private placement. Last July, it sold a 6.25 percent equity stake in the firm to insurer Alleghany Corp for $250 million. The deal valued Ares' equity at $4 billion.
It was the second major private placement that Ares had accepted. In 2007, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority acquired a 20 percent stake in Ares for $375 million, giving it a valuation of $1.9 billion at that time.
Ares had $74 billion of assets under management as of the end of December, $55 billion of which were in private and public credit strategies. It runs Ares Capital Crop, the largest among specialty finance companies involved in direct lending that are referred to as business development companies.
Its stronghold in direct lending and wider credit investments can be traced to the roots of its founders, Antony Ressler, John Kissick, Bennett Rosenthal, David Kaplan and Michael Arougheti. Ressler and Kissick worked as bond traders in the 1980s at Drexel Burnham Lambert, and in 1990 co-founded Apollo Global Management LLC alongside Leon Black, Marc Rowan and Joshua Harris.
At Apollo, Ressler and Kissick led the firm's capital markets business and in 1997 spun it out into Ares, which became independent in 2002. Rosenthal joined Ares in 1998 from Merrill Lynch & Co's global leveraged finance group while Kaplan joined in 2003 from investment firm Shelter Capital Partners LLC.
Ressler will be chairman and chief executive officer of Ares as a public listed company. Ares said it expected that its senior partners will own about 70 percent of the firm after the IPO. It plans to list under the symbol 'ARES'.
(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr)