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Askan Denstaedt, the London-based general counsel for Europe at New York hedge fund GoldenTree Asset Management, has one of the broadest remits in the investment management field.
Denstaedt, who joined GoldenTree two years ago from Fried Frank where he had been on partnership track, is responsible for all of the legal and structuring aspects of the hedge fund’s portfolio investments outside the US. In 2012, that primarily meant handling a raft of issues raised by the high-profile restructuring of budget hotel chain Travelodge, one of the most complex deals in decades.
Travelodge, the UK’s second-largest budget hotel chain, was bought in 2006 by Dubai International Capital in a highly leveraged £675m deal.
Denstaedt spearheaded the team that took control of the hotel chain through a debt-for-equity swap and a range of other measures. Chief among them was the implementation of a company voluntary arrangement to handle the chain’s significant lease liabilities.
Denstaedt also oversaw the legal and operational aspects of the financial restructuring, which saw Travelodge’s lenders write off more than £700m of debt and GoldenTree (along with Goldman Sachs and fellow New York hedge fund Avenue Capital) inject £75m of cash into the business.
The deal represents a new start for Travelodge and underlines Denstaedt’s decision to join GoldenTree in the midst of the financial crisis.