The Ryland Group, Inc. (RYL), a Calabasas, Calif.-based homebuilder and mortgage finance company, said Monday that it had formed a joint venture with Oaktree Capital to acquire and develop distressed residential real estate projects. Terms of the JV were not disclosed, and it was not immediately clear if the partnership involved the purchase of land and projects already owned by Ryland itself. "We are excited about the opportunities that will arise as a result of this partnership," said Chad Dreier, Ryland's chairman and chief executive officer. "With more than $55 billion in assets under management, Oaktree is one of the premier investment managers in the country. Their considerable capital base and strong track record as an investor in distressed assets make Oaktree an ideal partner for us." An executive committee consisting of representatives from both firms will make the purchase decisions, according to a press statement. Ryland will then provide the necessary improvements and permits with the intent to ultimately sell the projects as finished lots, and will have the right to option all lots sold by the partnership. Last week, Ryland reported that a Q4 2008 loss of $59.9 million, or $1.40 a share, down from losses of $201.9 million, or $4.80 a share, in the second quarter a year ago. The Orange County Register reported on Lennar's plans to scale back on its own projects late last week, in an effort to pare back an oversupply of new homes. Write to Paul Jackson at Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.