James Rhee Joins GB Merchant Partners

James Rhee has joined GB Merchant Partners as a managing director of the 1903 Equity Fund, which invests in middle-market retail and consumer products companies. He previously was with J.W. Childs Associates.


GB Merchant Partners, the investment management affiliate of Gordon Brothers Group, today announced that James Rhee has joined the firm as Managing Director and Partner of the 1903 Equity Fund, which makes control and non-control investments in middle-market retail and consumer products companies. Mr. Rhee spent the majority of his investment career with J.W. Childs Associates, L.P., an operationally focused private equity firm specializing in control investments in the consumer and specialty retail industries. He rounds out an already seasoned investment team, joining Matthew Kahn and James Dworkin in participating in the oversight of the Fund and its manager, as well as sourcing and overseeing new investments.

“Today’s macroeconomic conditions are creating attractive investment opportunities for GB Merchant Partners,” said Matthew Kahn. “With his hybrid financial and legal background and strong relationships with proven operating executives and the debt community, James greatly accelerates our ability to source and take advantage of such opportunities. We believe that James will significantly enhance our team’s capabilities as limited partner liaison, deal flow generator and portfolio company board member.”

James Dworkin added, “James comes with a tremendous amount of energy, intensity and enthusiasm, particularly as it relates to portfolio management and internal team building. The whole team is thrilled to have him on board and we look forward to working in partnership to catapult the group to the next level.”

The 1903 Equity Fund has $320 million of committed capital. Portfolio companies include Como Fred David, Clair de Lune, Grafton-Fraser (dba Tip Top Tailor) and Things Remembered. Prior GB Merchant Partners investments include Spencer Gifts, Party City and Dollarama.

“The 1903 Equity Fund is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the current economic dislocation,” commented James Rhee. “With access to the expertise and operating resources of the Gordon Brothers Group, we have a significant competitive advantage in finding and driving value at our portfolio companies. The team is galvanized and united in purpose, and I look forward to helping them deliver exceptional returns for our investors.”

Prior to joining GB Merchant Partners, Mr. Rhee founded FirePine Group, a retail-consumer, merchant bank focused on providing capital and operating solutions to distressed companies. Previously, Mr. Rhee held senior level positions with J.W. Childs Associates, where he was involved in such investments as The Meow Mix Company, Murray’s Discount Auto Stores, Brookstone and SimCom. Mr. Rhee has achieved particular success in restructuring distressed companies and raising capital.

Mr. Rhee holds an AB with honors from Harvard College and a J.D. with honors from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Mr. Rhee is a retired member of the New York State Bar Association.

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About GB Merchant Partners
GB Merchant Partners (www.gbmerchantpartners.com), the investment management affiliate of Gordon Brothers Group with over $500 million of capital under management, focuses on private equity, structured loan and secondary debt investments. Equity investments are made through the 1903 Equity Fund, which takes majority and minority equity positions in middle-market retail and consumer products companies. Debt financings, typically structured as junior secured, “Tranche B” or enterprise value loans that range from $10 to $50 million, are made to middle-market companies in the distribution, wholesale, industrial, retail, consumer products and real estate sectors.

About Gordon Brothers Group
Founded in 1903, Gordon Brothers Group (www.gordonbrothers.com) is a global advisory, restructuring and investment firm specializing in the retail, consumer products, industrial, and real estate sectors. Gordon Brothers Group maximizes value for both healthy and distressed companies by purchasing or selling all categories of assets, appraising assets, providing debt financing, making private equity investments, and operating businesses for extended periods. Gordon Brothers Group conducts over $50 billion worth of transactions and appraisals annually.