Media Vet Scott Marden Rejoins Compass Partners, Plans To Raise $600 Million PE Fund

Compass Advisers today will announce the return of Scott Marden, a longtime media banker and executive who has spent the past four years overseeing information and media private equity for DLJ Merchant Banking Partners.

He will be in charge of a new principal investment effort that will try raising a $600 million fund focused on middle-market opportunities in the business and information services space.

Marden was part of Compass in 1999, when it raised over $900 million for a private equity fund focused on Europe. He left two years later to become president of McGraw Hill’s media and information group (BusinessWeek, etc.), before moving onto DLJ MB.

Compass, meanwhile, continued to manage its private equity vehicle, but concentrated most of its efforts on advisory work. Today, its 1999 fund has just one remaining portfolio company.

Marden believes that the lack of a legacy portfolio should be a selling point when Compass begins formally marketing its new fund: “Our view is that large institutional LPs are paralytic right now, and that they probably are not going to be in a position to commit in 2010. But this asset class is permanent, and we believe they’ll be investing again by next year. A lot of existing LPs in the first Compass fund have been asking [Compass managing partner] Steve Waters what he’s going to do next, and now he has an answer. So we’ll begin by talking with them.”

Marden will retain responsibility for an unspecified number of DLJ MB board seats, and he will be joined at Compass by fellow DLJ MB vets Justin Lipton and Bobby Kelly.

Marden declined to speculate on the future of DLJ MB, which had been expected to restart fundraising this summer (it had originally gone out in 2008, but suspended the effort). He did say, however, that there was a chance that DLJ MB parent company Credit Suisse could become an LP in the new Compass Partners fund.