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JPMorgan's Highbridge raises $5 billion credit fund

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Highbridge Capital Management LLC, a hedge fund manager owned by JPMorgan Chase & Co , has raised a $5 billion mezzanine debt fund, a spokesman said on Sunday, the latest alternative asset firm seeking to seize on corporate credit opportunities.

Dave Millar, a spokesman for New York-based Highbridge, confirmed the completion of the fundraising in an email following a report by the Financial Times, which said the fund, Highbridge Mezzanine Partners Fund II, was the largest mezzanine corporate debt fund raised since the financial crisis.

Mezzanine funds invest in the least safe side of a company's debt spectrum in exchange for higher returns that make them appealing to yield-hungry investors willing to take on more risk in times of low interest rates.

Last year, Blackstone Group LP raised a $4 billion mezzanine debt fund to focus on opportunities in the United States and Europe.

Highbridge, which manages about $29 billion in capital, sold a majority stake to JPMorgan in late 2004 and was bought out completely by the investment bank in 2009, according to Highbridge's website.

Among Highbridge's debt deals are private equity firm KKR & Co LP's 955 million pound ($1.4 billion) acquisition of British pet food retailer Pets at Home, and KKR and General Atlantic LLC's $1.65 billion acquisition of defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp's TASC consulting unit.

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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