“Goldfinger” Raises Private Equity Fund

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Mount Kellett Capital Management, a private equity firm run by former Goldman Sachs (GS.N) partner Mark McGoldrick, has raised at least $1.5 billion and is on the hunt for investments, several market sources said.

The global fund which McGoldrick – known as ‘Goldfinger’ – launched last year had originally sought to raise about $5 billion but was slowed by the market meltdown, sources said.

Calls to McGoldrick’s office in New York were not returned. Brad Landes, Mount Kellett’s managing director and deputy head of Asia, said the firm does not speak to the press.

McGoldrick earned his nickname while at Goldman Sachs, where as co-head of its lucrative global special situations group he was reported by media to have been paid between $40 million and $70 million in 2006.

He left Goldman Sachs in 2007 but the Wall Street bank had helped Mount Kellett raise funding, market sources said. A Goldman Sachs spokesman in Hong Kong declined to comment.

The multi-strategy fund, which is named after a mountain in Hong Kong, has attracted several Goldman Sachs veterans to its staff. It also has an office in Mumbai and one source said it plans to open one in Beijing.

“$1.5 billion is a good amount to launch with in this market,” one fund industry insider said.

Another person familiar with the matter said Mount Kellett plans to raise additional funding.

A fund manager in Asia with knowledge of Mount Kellett said the firm was seeking investment opportunities across industries.

It is looking for companies in good financial shape and of substantial size, and is targeting deals in the $100 million range, the fund manager said.

“They are aggressively looking for deals,” the fund manager said.

Numerous bankers have left Wall Street to launch private equity and hedge funds, although the harsh current climate makes fund-raising a challenge.

Merrill Lynch’s former Asia investment banking chief, Sheldon Trainor, recently left the bank to launch a private equity fund but will continue to serve as an advisor to Merrill’s new owner, Bank of America (BAC.N), a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

By Tony Munroe and George Chen
(Additional reporting by Michael Flaherty in Hong Kong and Joseph A. Giannone in New York; editing by John Stonestreet)