Howard Marks' Oaktree Capital to Invest $225 Million in Diamond Foods

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May 23, 2012
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Great opportunistic investment from well-known value investor Howard Mark. His firm Oaktree Capital Management said it would invest $225 million in the ailing Diamond Foods Inc. (DMND, Financial) to help the company shore up its balance sheet, meet funding needs and support growth in its business


* Investment lets Diamond amend credit facility, pay debt

* Includes $225 of debt, warrants to buy 4.4 million shares

* Two Oaktree representatives will join Diamond's board


The investment firm will provide some relief for the seller of Emerald nuts and Pop Secret popcorn, which was grappling with high debt after revelations of improper accounting led to the removal of the company's top two executives, earnings restatements and the collapse of a planned acquisition.


Diamond's shares rose as much as 7 percent to $24.80 in morning trading, before settling back to $23.05, down about 10 cents.


Diamond said on Wednesday that Oaktree's investment will allow it to amend its credit agreement with existing lenders and meet its anticipated near-term and long-term funding needs.


The investment consists of $225 million of newly issued debt and warrants to buy 4.4 million shares of Diamond stock. The debt will mature in 2020 and will bear annual interest of 12 percent. The warrants will be exercisable at $10 per share and would constitute ownership of about 16.4 percent of the company.


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