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Canyon Capital Advisors founders Mitchell Julis and Joshua Friedman can trace their partnership back to Harvard, where they were roommates while working toward dual MBA and law degrees. Later, the pair started their careers trading junk bonds at Drexel Burnham Lambert, the fabled firm that invented the junk bond market before collapsing in 1990 after an insider trading scandal.
Despite its tarnished legacy, Drexel spawned a few high-profile asset management firms, including Canyon. Julis and Friedman set up the firm as a specialist in credit-related strategies, but the devastating Russian debt default in 1998 led the founders to diversify…