CIT Mess Leaves Edgeview Partners In Limbo

Amid CIT’s bankruptcy scares and Carl Icahn drama, not much focus has been placed on the fate of Edgeview Partners, the mid-market boutique consultancy CIT acquired in mid-2007.

While Edgeview continues to do business, its founding partners Drew Quartapella and Matt Salisbury left in February. More recently, partner Bill Morrissett also departed.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Quartapella and Salisbury offered to buy the firm back, but CIT was unresponsive. The three men are subject to a non-compete period that was set when Edgeview originally sold to CIT. According two sources familiar with the firm, the non-compete expires in the middle of next year.

Meanwhile Edgeview’s remaining employees are waiting anxiously for the dust to settle around CIT. M&A advisory business has been slow in a credit crunch, and bringing in new deals with an unstable parent company doesn’t help.

Quartapella told peHUB that, in recent times, Edgeview hasn’t reaped the benefits of merging with CIT. “A big part of doing the deal was getting CIT’s leveraged loan relationships married to Edgeview’s private equity relationships. That part of the equation hasn’t been there for quite awhile,” he said.

Quartapella remains a consultant to Edgeview and said he would return to the firm once CIT’s situation stabilizes. “I think we’re all waiting to see what happens,” he said. If CIT filed for bankruptcy and reorganized quickly, Edgeview would be a successful part of that, he said. One source familiar with the firm suggested a bankruptcy could even nullify the non-competes.

Would Quartapella return to the firm? “Hm, sure,” he said. But for the time being, he is trying his hand as a private equity investor of sorts. With his own personal investment and the backing of UK hedge fund J.O. Hambro, he has acquired and merged three chemical companies under the name Precision Chemical. Quartapella serves as the company’s chairman.

He said he continues to seek out new deals alongside former colleagues from W-H Energy Services, where he worked in the 1990s. In December 2008, that company sold to Smith International. He said he’s seeking both oilfield services and chemical companies with Ebitda of around $5 million, but has the ability to do larger investments as well. The effort, which included an investment from Salisbury, has no official name (except for a joke suggestion: EdgeFew. Get it?).

PS. CIT just announced it has secured an additional $4.5 billion in financing.