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Carlyle inks buy of Conifer Financial

The Carlyle Group said Tuesday it has agreed to buy a majority stake of Conifer Financial Services LLC. Financial terms weren’t announced. Capital for Carlyle’s investment will come from Carlyle Global Financial Services Partners II LP. Conifer is an asset services firm and has more than $100 billion of combined assets under administration. Macquarie Capital and Freeman & Co. served as financial advisors to Conifer. Duff & Phelps Securities LLC advised Carlyle.


New York, NY – Global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG) today announced that it has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Conifer Financial Services LLC, an independent asset services firm. Senior management of Conifer will continue to lead the business and own a significant minority interest in the company. The transaction, terms of which were not disclosed, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015 subject to customary closing requirements and regulatory approvals.
This transaction is the result of Conifer’s growth and evolution, positioning the company, with Carlyle’s backing, for a new phase of development. In May 2014, The Conifer Group, LLC and Vastardis Capital Services Holdings LP merged their respective businesses to create Conifer Financial Services, one of the world’s largest independent asset services providers and outsourced trading platforms.
Conifer has broad experience in offering front-to-back capabilities across all asset classes for hedge funds, pensions, endowments, foundations, funds of funds and family offices, as well as private equity and venture capital. With more than 200 clients worldwide representing more than $100 billion of combined assets under administration (AUA), Conifer currently ranks amongst the top fund administrators globally. With approximately 150% growth in AUA over the past three years, Conifer is a fast-growing fund administration platform and credits its success to its superior client service offering, flexible technology and turn-key and customized solutions.
Jack McDonald, Chief Executive Officer of Conifer, will continue to lead the Company. Mr. McDonald said, “I’m excited to partner with Carlyle, a widely recognized world-class investor. Our clients and employees will benefit significantly from this partnership, which will enable us to fulfill our vision of becoming the leading, independent asset servicing business. The unparalleled breadth and depth of Carlyle’s global platform will provide a solid foundation for our continued development and growth.”
William Vastardis, Chairman of Conifer, noted, “Our clients have already benefited from the enhanced services created through our merger in 2014. With Carlyle’s support and expertise, our continued investment in the platform will further enhance our ability to deliver powerful solutions and support to our clients, many of whom are adapting to the challenges imposed by a rapidly evolving operating environment.”
Olivier Sarkozy, Head of Carlyle’s Global Financial Services Fund, said, “We are excited to partner with Jack, Bill and the entire Conifer management team. Conifer’s mix of fund administration, middle- and back-office services, and outsourced trading platform, provides value to their clients far beyond what is typical in the sector. We look forward to working with Conifer as it continues to expand Conifer’s leadership in innovative fund and asset services.”

Keith Taylor, Managing Director of Carlyle’s Global Financial Services Fund, said, “Fund services are becoming increasingly important to a range of asset owners and managers. Market participants are working to gain better control over their data, operations and regulatory requirements. Conifer’s technology advantage allows it to deliver a diverse set of services to help its clients thrive in this dynamic environment.”

Christopher Dodds, Keith Taylor and William Allen will join Jack McDonald and William Vastardis on Conifer’s Board of Directors.

Capital for Carlyle’s investment will come from Carlyle Global Financial Services Partners II, L.P., which invests in management buyouts, growth capital opportunities and strategic minority investments in financial services firms globally. This will be the fifth investment by the fund. Previous investments include: Duff & Phelps, DBRS and Edgewood Partners Holdings Inc. (EPIC).
Macquarie Capital and Freeman & Co. served as financial advisors and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius served as legal advisor to Conifer. Duff & Phelps Securities LLC served as financial advisor and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz served as legal advisor to Carlyle. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP served as legal advisor to the transaction.
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About Conifer Financial Services LLC
Conifer Financial Services is a leading independent asset services firm offering front-to-back office capabilities across all asset classes to pensions, endowments, family offices, hedge funds, private equity and venture capital managers, RIAs, and traditional asset managers. Services include Fund Administration, Middle- and Back-Office Services, Execution Services and Prime Brokerage. Conifer Financial Services has over 200 clients worldwide representing more than $100 billion of combined assets under administration (AUA). Securities and prime brokerage services offered through Conifer Securities, LLC Member FINRA/SIPC.

About The Carlyle Group
The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG) is a global alternative asset manager with $194 billion of assets under management across 128 funds and 142 fund of funds vehicles as of December 31, 2014. Carlyle’s purpose is to invest wisely and create value on behalf of its investors, many of whom are public pensions. Carlyle invests across four segments – Corporate Private Equity, Real Assets, Global Market Strategies and Investment Solutions – in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, North America and South America. Carlyle has expertise in various industries, including: aerospace, defense & government services, consumer & retail, energy, financial services, healthcare, industrial, real estate, technology & business services, telecommunications & media and transportation. The Carlyle Group employs more than 1,650 people in 40 offices across six continents.