Angelis Launches BHMS To Focus On Distressed Investing

Kevin Angelis doesn’t want anyone to know his age but admits he’s young for having started his own PE firm.

Angelis, who is 31, launched BHMS Investments in August with cofounder Robert Salamon. The PE shop will target lower middle-market deals or transactions with an enterprise value of $50 million or less. Angelis makes no apologies for his age. “I’m eager and I’m hungry,” he says. “This is a big deal to me, to fight the good fight.”

BHMS will operate as a distressed investor as well as traditional PE firm. BHMS is open to all sectors although there are industries Angelis favors like business services, hard industrial companies as well as transportation and logistics.

New York-based BHMS is in the process of closing its first deal. The buyout shop is the DIP lender and plan of reorganization sponsor to a consumer products firm that is in bankruptcy. “The intent is to own the company,” he says. The process to acquire the company should take another two to three months, he says.

Though he is young, Angelis has spent the last 10 years on Wall Street and in private equity. Most recently, he worked for Morgan Stanley as executive director in the special situations group where he focused on distressed debt. Before that, he led the North American energy investing practice at Morgan principal investments group. Angelis also worked at the Carlyle Group and American Capital but started his career, earlier this decade, at Merrill Lynch’s consumer products group.

His partner, Robert Salamon, hails from KKR, where he co-managed a $1.25 billion opportunistic value portfolio. He also worked at JP Morgan as an investment banker.

So why is Angelis starting his own firm? “There is a lot of distress in the lower middle market,” he says. “We have an expertise in that and not a lot of folks do.”

But Angelis did resist naming the firm after himself or a Greek god, which seems to be the norm in PE. He chose BHMS because it was the former ticker symbol of Bethlehem Steel. His grandfather, whom he was close to, rolled steel for 40 years.

Bethlehem Steel was once the nation’s second largest steel producer before it filed Chapter 11 in 2001. “It has nice symbolism,” Angelis says. “Bethlehem Steel was one of the world’s preeminent firms and then it filed for bankruptcy protection. You need to always be thinking ahead.”