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April 08, 2020  

Appaloosa Partner Braves Marketing Trail

Another former Appaloosa Management executive is striking out on his own.

Aaron Weitman, both a nephew and protege of Appaloosa chief David Tepper, has penciled in July 1 to launch the debut fund from his CastleKnight Management. He is expected to start with at least $100 million, including an undisclosed contribution from Tepper.

CastleKnight would employ event-driven and special-situations strategies, using fundamental analysis to invest across the debt and equity of a mix of companies. While Weitman was planning the offering before the coronavirus crisis began, that focus could position his New York firm to take advantage of growing demand from investors who see such vehicles as capable of performing well amid the market turmoil resulting from the pandemic.

The experience of Weitman and his expected day-one staff of 8-10 investment, operations and marketing professionals also could attract interest. Weitman, for example, started at Appaloosa straight out of college in 2004 and in 2011 became one of the youngest partners in the firm’s history.

Also on board at CastleKnight is partner Chris Sullivan, who serves as chief operating officer, chief financial officer and chief compliance officer. Sullivan most recently worked from 2017 to 2019 as chief operating officer at Diameter Capital. His career, dating back more than 30 years, also has included executive positions at debt-focused Anandar Capital and Blackstone unit GSO Capital.

Partner Dustin Shapir had been a credit analyst at Oak Hill Advisors since 2008, and before that was at Bank of America. Head trader Matthew Cambria worked at Citadel since 2018, and counts Blockhouse Capital, Anandar and Mason Capital as former employers.

Jason Porcelli is in charge of business development. He worked in a similar role at Column Park Asset Management since 2015, and before that was at HSBC.

Tepper, following up on his 2018 purchase of the Carolina Panthers professional football team, began returning investor capital last year as Appaloosa started to function more like a family office. He was running $13 billion at the time.

Executives Drew Casino and Peter Rosenblum left to set up their own firms amid that shift. Casino is employing a global-macro approach through his Miami Beach-based Baymount Management, which launched around yearend. Rosenblum was aiming for mid-2020 to start an opportunistic operation in New York dubbed 140 Summer Partners.

Sources said early on that Tepper was interested in backing both operations, as he had for several other former employees.