BlackRock to Create Fund to Buy Leveraged Loans

BlackRockis trying to raise some $3 billion to create a second fund that will buy distressed debt that banks are trying to unload because of the credit crisis, a person with knowledge of the deal said on Wednesday.

The biggest publicly traded U.S. money manager wants to use the money to buy leveraged loans that have soured during the past year, according to the person who asked not to be identified because of not being authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

Major U.S. banks had extended loans to private-equity firms and others when corporate buyouts were at their peak, but the credit crisis essentially locked up that market. BlackRock already manages a similar fund that invested $3 billion in leveraged loans.

BlackRock manages $1.4 trillion in assets, and has opened up a number of funds to buy up debt that has lost significant value since the credit crisis began last year. It expects the debt will rebound once the market's dislocation begins to turn around.

The New York-based firm already has created an investment vehicle to raise $2 billion that will be used to acquire delinquent home mortgage securities. That venture is being co-managed by hedge fund Highfields Capital Management LP.

Shares of BlackRock fell $1.42 to $218.28 in afternoon trading.