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Kimmeridge’s Ben Dell talks oil and gas investing and ESG; Ex-Accel-KKR execs build long-hold flexibility into debut fund

Vista Equity hires Nasdaq's Dillard as CFO and senior managing director.

Happy Wednesday Hubsters!

Have you noticed a dip in exit activity over the past few weeks? There is some indication that distributions, at least among a few LPs I’ve spoken to, have slowed in recent weeks. I’m not sure if that’s a sign that M&A activity is slowing down or what.

Let me know what you’re seeing out there …

Energy: New PE Hub reporter Obey Martin Manayiti chatted with Ben Dell, co-founder and managing partner of Kimmeridge, about oil and gas investing, which has not really been the most sought-after strategy in private equity.

Dell’s point was that the US must find a way to grow its energy sector in a responsible way. “If you can solve that issue, then there is no reason you shouldn’t want both because growing oil and gas domestically for export helps from a geopolitical standpoint, and it is also a large driver of GDP.”

Kimmeridge recently launched Chestnut Carbon, a nature-based carbon offset platform it will seed up to $200 million. According to the firm, “Chestnut will generate high-quality forest carbon offsets that are additional, verifiable and biodiverse to accelerate the path to net zero across a range of industries.” Read it here on PE Hub. And reach out to Obey with your thoughts at obey.m@peimedia.com.

People change: Vista Equity hired Lauren Dillard as CFO and senior managing director effective April 11, 2022. Dillard steps in for John Warnken-Brill, who is retiring after 15 years in the post.

Dillard joins from Nasdaq, where she most recently was executive vice president of investment intelligence. She also previously worked at Carlyle Group, including as head of the investment solutions unit. Read more here on PE Hub.

The move comes as Vista is in market raising its eighth fund, with a target between $18 billion and $20 billion, but could raise more. Fund VIII is expected to hold a first close this month, and recently got a big vote of confidence from Oregon’s state pension fund. Read it here on Buyouts.

Newbie: You know we love tracking first-time fund formation and well-known execs who leave bigger shops and try and carve out their own paths in PE. Along those lines, we have another newbie for ya: Red Iron Group, formed by two ex-Accel-KKR execs, has a debut fund that gives the lower middle market focused shop the flexibility to hold certain assets longer than allowed under traditional PE hold periods.

Red Iron, formed by Ben Bisconti and Jason Klein, had been targeting $300 million and had raised $233 million as of February. It’s not clear if the fund has closed yet. Read more here on Buyouts.

And of course, if you know of other first-timers out there, hit me up at cwitkowsky@buyoutsinsider.com. We have a growing list of first-time funds to watch that we’ll be highlighting in an upcoming cover feature.

That’s it for me! Have a great rest of your day. As always, reach me with tips n’ gossip, feedback or book recommendations at cwitkowsky@buyoutsinsider.com or over on LinkedIn.