Fundless Sponsor Empeiria Capital Makes Drilling Equipment Exit

Empeiria Capital, the New York-based fundless sponsor, sold an investment it made in 2006 to National-Oilwell Varco, Inc., a listed, Houston-based drilling equipment provider, sources said.

Empeiria Capital sold its Conner Steel Products Holdings Co., a manufacturer of storage tanks, to National Oilwell Varco. Empeiria Capital led an investor group that acquired Conner Steel in May 2006. The deal was done without any other financial sponsors, and Empeiria syndicated a portion of the deal.

Raymond James was the advisor to Empeiria Capital. Terms of the deal were not specified, but a source familiar with the sale told peHUB the deal was an all-cash transaction. The gross return on equity invested was 10.4x, peHUB’s source said.

Lately, exit opportunities have emerged for private equity firms that made investments in raw energy, particularly, shale oil and gas fields that have seen substantial interest from domestic and international strategic players looking to buy into extraction plays in North America. Most recently, KKR and Hilcorp exited a shale field investment in a $3.5 billion deal, selling it to Marathon Oil.

National Oilwell Varco and Empeiria did not respond to requests for comment for this story.