Mitchell R. Julis

Canyon Capital Advisors LLC

Mitchell R. Julis

Assets Under Management: $19 B
Net Worth: -
Age: -
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Education: Princeton University (B.A.)
Wilson Woodrow School
Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Harvard Business School (M.B.A.)

Mitchell R. Julis: A Partnership that Works

A good business partner is hard to find; a great one is seldom seen at all.  But they do exist, and a prime case in point would be the partnership between Mitchell R. Julis and another notable whale, Joshua S. Friedman.

These two gentlemen are the Co-Founders and Co-CIO’s of Canyon Partners, LLC, a Los Angeles-headquartered, employee-owned hedge fund that manages approximately $19 billion in assets.  A multi-strategy hedge fund, Canyon invests across a variety of asset classes ranging from bank debt to distressed securities, securitized assets, convertible and risk arbitrage, as well as equities and special-situation securities.

Born and raised in New York, Mitchell Julis attended Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, graduating in 1977 with a bachelor of arts degree, magna cum laude.  Mr. Julis then earned a juris doctor degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School, followed by a master’s of business administration with honors from Harvard Business School.

During his years at Harvard, Mitchell R. Julis became friends and roommates with Mr. Joshua S. Friedman, with whom he would later form Canyon Partners in 1990.  While Joshua Friedman began his career at Goldman Sachs in M&A, Mr. Julis was a bankruptcy attorney at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

In 1983 Mitchell Julis moved to Beverly Hills, joined bond trading firm Drexel Burnham Lambert and eventually oversaw $500 million of distressed securities. Joshua Friedman soon followed and was in charge of structuring new issues.

But the dollars and cents aren’t the crux of the story here: more important is how Mr. Julis and Mr. Friedman worked together, complementing each other’s skills and proclivities.  Regarding this, a former Drexel Burnham Lambert colleague once said, “They are especially talented at navigating the complexities of corporate debt. While Julis is skilled at basic research and financial analysis, Friedman is an expert on the pecking order of creditors in the event of a default or liquidation and how their claims can affect debt holders.”

In other words: “It’s a very good partnership. They play off each other.” The combined experience and expertise of Mitchell Julis and Joshua Friedman, along with a healthy dose of spirited aggressiveness, are the key ingredients that have made Canyon one of the world’s most successful hedge funds; indeed, “Aggressiveness is part of their DNA,” as a client once put it.

Interestingly, Mitchell Julis is a voracious reader who paid $25,250 for a first edition of Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor that was signed by Warren Buffett. Also interestingly, Mr. Julis looked to religion for solace after the Canyon Value Realization Fund had its first negative year in 1998, explaining it thus: “The market got shaken and I got shaken. I knew I needed something beyond my hedge fund to ground me. Torah was the answer.”

If this has struck you as a tale of two whales instead of one, know that this is entirely intentional: the success and legacy of Mitchell R. Julis and Joshua S. Friedman is an object lesson in an age-old principle that transcends the realm of finance: two heads, you see, are much better than one.


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