A Different Romney Enters Private Equity

Last we saw Tagg Romney, he was traipsing around Iowa and New Hampshire for his father’s presidential campaign. That didn’t work out too well, so Tagg is moving into something that Romneys are notably better at: Private equity.

He’s one of four co-founding principals of Solamere Capital, a Boston-based firm that is looking to raise $200 million for its debut fund. The others are: Spencer Zwick, former national finance director for the Romney campaign; John Miller, CEO of National Beef Packing Co. and Eric Scheuermann, a partner with Jupiter Partners (and Bill Weld’s son-in-law).

You might notice that both Miller and Scheuermann still seem to have other full-time jobs, so I’ve put in calls to both for clarification. (Update: Miller says he’ll be fulltime once JBS SA completes its acquisition of National Beef this fall)
I did speak briefly with Tagg, who I first interviewed years ago when a startup he co-founded sued Ticketmaster for IP thievery. He said that Solamere – which I assume is named for the Utah town where the Romney’s have a home – has already made a handful of investments, but declined to get specific. According to a document obtained by peHUB, those investments could be in either companies or other private equity funds.

Solamere shouldn’t have too much trouble finding money, given that one of its four principals is a professional fundraiser. Expect lots of high-net-worth folks who previously backed Mitt’s campaign. The bigger question will be whether or not Solamere’s team has enough relevant experience.

Zwick – the fundraiser – has never been involved with a private equity firm. Neither really has Tagg, save for a few summer associate gigs with Bain Capital (most recently he was chief marketing officer for the LA Dodgers). “Wise grey-hair” Miller has dealt with plenty of PE firms when it comes to acquisitions, but mostly is being brought aboard for his operating experience (plus a dollop of credibility).

That leaves Scheuermann, who has spent years alongside Jupiter co-founders John Sprague (ex-Forstmann Little) and Terry Blumer (Goldman Sachs). That basically gives him initial responsibility for Solamere’s rise or fall. Hopefully – for Solamere’s investors’ sake – the others are fast learners.