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American Capital closes $1.1B lower middle-market buyout fund

American-Capital-AgencyAmerican Capital closed a $1.1 billion private equity fund focused on buyouts of lower middle-market U.S. companies. A team of ten led by Sean Eagle, Eugene Krichevsky, David Steinglass, and Justin DuFour, based in Bethesda, Md., will manage the fund, known as American Capital Equity III.

ACE III acquired a portfolio of equity investments from American Capital and an option to purchase the equity interest of another portfolio company. ACE III has an additional $445 million of capital commitments to deploy for purchases of new control equity and equity-related investments in companies generating $5-25 million of annual EBITDA. – Abby Latour

Follow Abby on Twitter @abbynyhk for middle-market deals, leveraged M&A, distressed debt, private equity, and more

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Sound Harbor hires analysts Walker and Strek as part of sub-IG expansion plans

soundharborSound Harbor has hired two credit research analysts to its investment team as part of plans to grow its sub-investment-grade corporate loan investments.

Jamie Walker joins as a principal with research responsibility for investments in the business services, chemicals, and entertainment industries, while Deborah Strek comes on board as a principal focused on the packaging, publishing, and retail industries.

Walker joins from Genworth Financial, where she worked as a senior credit analyst, and prior to that worked at Citadel Securities, The Carlyle Group, and Lehman Brothers. Strek was previously a consultant with Orchard First Source, and prior to that she worked at CIBC World Markets.

The two hires will take Sound Harbor’s team to 17 professionals.

Founded in 2009, Sound Harbor provides private credit to U.S. companies. It is led by Michael Zupon and Dean Criares. In October 2012, Sound Harbor announced an agreement to acquire management contracts for $2.2 billion of CLOs from Aladdin Capital Holdings. In January 2013, the firm acquired the management contracts of more than $1 billion of leveraged loans. A year ago, it formed a joint partnership with Macquarie Credit Investment Management to launch a series of CLO funds, and last week it priced its debut $456.95 million new-issue CLO, via J.P. Morgan. – Staff reports 

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Europe: Quirolo joins Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft as a partner

cadwalader David Quirolo has joined CadwaladerWickersham & Taft as a partner in the Global Capital Markets Practice Group, in the firm’s London office. Quirolo joins from Ashurst, where he was a partner.

His practice focuses primarily on CLOs and other securitization and repackaging transactions involving various asset types, and advises arrangers and collateral managers as well as issuers, managers, originators, and investors in a variety of structured finance transactions, both in the U.S. and Europe.

Prior to joining Ashurst, Quirolo spent eight years in Cadwalader’s New York and London offices. – Sarah Husband

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Europe: Hirji joins BlackRock’s Credit Enhanced Strategies team

blackrock_logo_2218Aly Hirji has joined BlackRock’s Credit Enhanced Strategies Europe team, run by Michael Phelps, according to sources.

He joins as portfolio manager, and will be responsible for building out the leveraged loan product and complementing the investment processes for existing funds.

Hirji joins from New Amsterdam Capital, where he was partner and portfolio manager. He joined NAC in 2004 from J.P. Morgan.

As of Dec. 31, 2012, BlackRock’s assets under management totalled $3.792 trillion across equity, fixed income, cash management, alternative investment, real estate, and advisory strategies. – Isabell Witt

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Healthcare Finance Group adds two new hires for business development

101036825-2316d510d06283564e6ca6818894d0918faf5db9.530x298Healthcare Finance Group announced two new hires today that expand the specialty finance firm’s business development effort. Andy Phelps and Mark Farlin joined the company as Senior Vice Presidents of Business Development.

Based in San Diego, Calif., Farlin will cover healthcare providers in California and the southwest, including Texas and Oklahoma, and on medical device and other healthcare manufacturers throughout the western U.S., according to the firm. Phelps will be focused on originating transactions directly from healthcare companies and through intermediaries in the southeast. He will be headquartered in Charlotte, N.C.

Farlin joins HFG from Olympus Financial Services and prior experience includes positions at Citicapital’s healthcare division and at GE Healthcare Financial Services. Phelps was previously at PNC Bank and before that he worked at Fifth Third Bank and Wells Fargo (Wachovia).

New York-based HFG is a specialty finance company that provides senior debt financing to middle market healthcare companies with target transaction sizes between $5-500 million. HFG is a portfolio company of publicly traded BDC Fifth Street Finance Corp., which acquired the firm in 2013. – Staff reports

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Golub Capital team adds two members for middle-market private equity lending

imgresGolub Capital has expanded its lending team with two hires who will focus on deals to upper middle-market private equity sponsors, a business area that the lender expects to increase in part due to changing bank regulations.

Hyun Chang joined Golub from J.P. Morgan Securities, where he was an executive director in the financial sponsors group. Michael Meagher joined from Deutsche Bank Securities, where he was a director in the financial sponsors group. They both started in August.

The two join a team of more than 60 and will report to Andy Steuerman, who is head of middle-market lending at Golub. Chang and Meagher will focus on the upper middle market, defined as companies that generate annual EBITDA of $40-80 million.

Golub defines its core middle market as companies generating annual revenue of $15-50 million and the lower middle market as those with EBITDA of $5-15 million.

Steuerman said tougher regulations for banks will result in more demand for lending to the upper middle market.

“It’s demand-driven,” Steuerman said of the hires. “We’ve seen some of the largest private equity firms decide to go back into the upper middle market.” – Abby Latour

 

Follow Abby on Twitter @abbynyhk for middle-market deals, leveraged M&A, distressed debt, private equity, and more

 

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Senior team from Brazos forms new middle market PE firm

A senior team from Brazos Private Equity Partners, a private equity firm that is winding down, today unveiled plans to set up a new firm targeting control investments of middle market companies.

 brazosRandall Fojtasek, former co-founder and co-CEO of Brazos Private Equity Partners, LLC, will lead CenterOak Partners. Ex-Brazos senior executives Michael SalimLucas CutlerJason Sutherland, and William Henry are joining him.

Dallas-based CenterOak Partners is targeting buyouts and recapitalizations in the U.S. industrial growth, consumer, and business services sectors, with a particular focus on southern and southwestern companies. The new firm plans to build a diversified portfolio of platform investments and invest $20-70 million of equity.

At Brazos, Fojtasek managed $1.4 billion of private equity capital across three funds and oversaw the deployment of over $2.5 billion in transaction value.

In March, peHub reported that Brazos Private Equity Partners would split and raise separate funds in an amicable departure of partners that also included Jeff Fronterhouse and Patrick McGee.

Last week, Brazos announced the close of a dividend recapitalization of optometrist and dentist supplier Vision Source with financing from Golub Capital. In June, Brazos-backed wine distributor Winebow placed debt backing a merger with Vintner Group, a portfolio company of Brockway Moran & Partners.

“They’re still going to manage the portfolio companies at Brazos through the entire lifecycle,” said Megan Griffin at BackBay Communications. “It was a timely moment for the partners to pursue other business opportunities.”

The Brazos Equity Fund III closed oversubscribed in September 2008 with capital commitments of over $700 million, targeting middle market companies with enterprise values of $50-400 million mainly in southwestern U.S. manufacturing, consumer, healthcare, distribution, and financial services companies.

Brazos II closed in 2005 with commitments of $400 million. The first Brazos fund closed in 2000 with commitments of $250 million. – Abby Latour

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Europe: Taneri to join SG CIB’s leveraged capital markets division

 societe_general_logo_1919Didem Taneri is set to join Societe Generale CIB’s leveraged capital markets division, reporting to managing director Ignacio Blasco, who heads up the team, according to market sources.

Taneri joins from UniCredit, where she has worked as a director in the leveraged loan capital markets team since 2011. Prior to UniCredit, Didem spent five years at Dresdner Kleinwort/Commerzbank, within its leveraged and infrastructure loan capital markets teams. Previously, she worked at ING and J.P. Morgan, primarily within leveraged finance syndication.

A spokesperson from SG CIB declined to comment. – Sarah Husband

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Europe: Reynolds to join Spire Partners as CIO

spire-03Rob Reynolds will join Spire Partners as CIO and partner, according to a statement from the firm.

Reynolds joins from 3i Debt Management, where he spent three years, most recently as head of its Credit Opportunities Fund, and portfolio manager of a number of its CLOs. He will be replaced by David Stanbrook on the 3i Debt Management European Investment Committee, according to a recent Stock Exchange announcement.

During his time at 3i, Reynolds worked closely with two of Spire’s founding partners, Phil Bennett-Britton and Oliver Drummond Smith, when they managed various 3i Debt Management funds. Prior to 3i, Reynolds was managing director and CIO at European CLO fund manager Resource Europe.

Separately, Ian Kavanagh – who worked at 3i Debt Management between February 2011 and February 2014 – also joined Spire Partners earlier in the year.

Established in 2012, Spire Partners is an independent asset management firm focused on European non-investment-grade credit.

Spire currently has a sub-advisory arrangement with the U.K. affiliate of a U.S. multi-strategy institutional investor, and became the investment manager on HarbourVest Senior Loans Europe Limited in May 2014. The company also has a managed account with a family office to invest in performing non-investment-grade credit. – Sarah Husband

 

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Europe: BlueBay Asset Management hires Hugh-Jones to global leveraged finance team

bluebay-logoBlueBay Asset Management has announced the hire of Kerry Hugh-Jones as institutional portfolio manager, working with the global leveraged finance team.

Hugh-Jones has over 14 years of experience in global financial markets, with roles ranging from credit research and portfolio management to strategic development for alternative asset-management businesses.

Hugh-Jones was previously head of business development at Eclectica Asset Management, where she was responsible for strategy. Prior to that she spent four years at Mediobanca, and before that 10 years at J.P. Morgan in various roles within credit and rates, most recently in the EMEA hedge funds coverage team.

Prior to that, she was a senior credit analyst within J.P. Morgan’s global credit portfolio group in both London and New York, having started her career in debt restructuring in the U.S. special loans team. – Staff reports