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Billionaire Sports Owner Harris Builds New $5 Billion Investment Firm

Josh Harris, the co-founder of Apollo Global Management Inc., is building out his firm to focus on private equity, credit and insurance. 

26North Partners will launch with more than $5 billion in assets, according to a statement. The investing titan hired Mark Weinberg, who helped lead US private equity at Brookfield Asset Management, to run buyouts and Brendan McGovern, former head of Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s private credit group, to lead the lending platform. 

Harris, 57, has been building a team and planning to start a firm for about a year. It’s a rare instance of a second act in asset management among the cohort of investors who founded private equity firms between the late 1970s and early 1990s, from Henry Kravis and George Roberts at KKR & Co. to Leon Black and Marc Rowan, Apollo’s other co-founders.

“I am thrilled to return to my roots as an investor and entrepreneur with the launch of 26North and excited to reconnect with the many partners I’ve worked with over the last 30 years,” Harris said in the statement. “Investment performance starts with extraordinary people, and I feel grateful to have attracted such outstanding talent.”

Weinberg and McGovern will join more than 40 team members at 26North, including Lance West, the former head of Centerbridge Partners European business, ex-Apollo managing director Evan Zemsky, onetime Blackstone Inc. managing director Tina Raja and former Security Benefit Life Insurance executive Cole Charnas.

26North has also created a joint venture with Braven Management, led by ex-BlackRock Inc. executive William Abecassis, to focus on transformational technology, according to the statement. Harris is worth an estimated $7.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He announced in May 2021 that he would be relinquishing his day-to-day responsibilities at Apollo. 

Many billionaire money managers have set up family offices as a way to invest their personal wealth. David Bonderman, who co-founded TPG Capital, set up Wildcat Capital Management, while Black, who has Elysium Management, has borrowed against his stake in Apollo to increase outside investments.

Harris has a family office too. His HRS Management oversees his personal fortune, which includes stakes in the National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers and the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils.

He’s been on the hunt for additional sports franchises this year, entering the bidding for the National Football League’s Denver Broncos and for Chelsea FC of the English Premier League. Both went to other billionaires.

As for the meaning behind 26North: 26 is the atomic number of iron and how many miles are in a marathon, reflecting the team’s endurance, while north is the direction the firm is heading, according to a spokesperson. 

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