Moelis & Co. has acquired Freeport Financial Partners. Terms of the deal were not announced. Chicago-based Freeport targets the middle market and provides origination, underwriting and management of loans, as well as equity co-investments. Freeport’s four principals, which include Matthew Gerdes, Josh Howie, Stephen Papalas, and Joseph Walker, will each join Moelis as MD’s.
Moelis & Company, the global independent investment bank, today announced the acquisition of Freeport Financial Partners LLC, an investment manager that provides financing solutions to middle market companies. The acquisition expands Moelis & Company’s asset management platform and enables Freeport to benefit from the added resources and global reach of a larger organization.
Freeport Financial, which will continue to be based in Chicago and operate under the same name, has an established platform originating, underwriting and managing middle market loans. Since 2005, the Freeport team has invested $1.47 billion in 79 platform investments. The principals of the company, Matthew Gerdes, Josh Howie, Stephen Papalas, and Joseph Walker, will join Moelis to manage funds that will provide capital solutions across all sectors to middle market companies owned by private equity sponsors.
Ken Moelis, Chief Executive Officer of Moelis & Company, said, “We believe that middle market companies are a growing but underserved segment. Today’s markets offer limited capital solutions to this segment and therefore we expect that middle market lending will offer investors superior risk adjusted returns. Freeport will enable us to provide another unique investment opportunity to institutional clients and serve the financing needs of private equity investors, and the management teams they support. Building in this space has always been part of our growth strategy as it will enhance our commitment to be a leading global investment bank that is focused on long-term, trusted relationships.”
Chris Ryan, Managing Director of Moelis & Company, said, “With the acquisition of Freeport Financial, we have acquired a highly reputable team that has a successful track record in middle market lending. Freeport’s commitment to clients makes for a great fit with us. We welcome the Freeport team to Moelis & Company and look forward to growing our business in this area.”
Josh Howie, Managing Director of Freeport, said, “Freeport is very pleased to join forces with Moelis & Company to provide greater opportunities to our clients. We believe the extensive Moelis network, in particular the Firm’s relationships with financial sponsors, will be very valuable to our investors.”
Other Moelis & Company asset management businesses include Moelis Capital Partners, a middle market private equity firm, Gracie Asset Management, a multi-strategy credit manager, and Moelis Australia Asset Management, which offers investors a specialist direct asset management capability in alternative asset classes.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
About Moelis & Company
Moelis & Company, recently named Most Innovative Boutique of the Year by The Banker for 2011 and in 2010 and Best Global Independent Investment Bank by Euromoney in 2010, is a global investment bank that provides financial advisory, capital raising and asset management services to a broad client base including corporations, institutions and governments. With more than 580 employees, Moelis & Company serves its clients through offices in New York, Beijing, Boston, Chicago, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai and Sydney. For more information, please visit www.moelis.com.
Mr. Gerdes is responsible for structuring, syndicating and managing middle market debt investments for the Freeport loan funds. Prior to joining Freeport in 2006, Mr. Gerdes was a Director of Dymas Capital Management Company where he originated, underwrote and managed investments in private equity sponsored transactions. Prior to his role at Dymas, Mr. Gerdes was a Vice President on GE Capital’s Merchant Banking Syndications Team where he structured and placed senior and subordinated financings.
Mr. Howie is responsible for sourcing, structuring and managing middle market debt investments for the Freeport loan funds. Prior to co-founding Freeport in 2005, Mr. Howie spent seven years with GE Capital Services, including two years in GE’s Financial Management Program. While at GE, Mr. Howie worked in numerous roles including mergers & acquisitions, acquisition integration, finance and GE’s Six Sigma Quality organization. His most recent role was in the Global Sponsor Finance unit where he was a Senior Vice President responsible for originating, structuring and underwriting leveraged transactions.
Mr. Papalas is responsible for underwriting and managing middle market debt investments for the Freeport loan funds. Prior to co-founding Freeport in 2005, Mr. Papalas spent five years with GE Commercial Finance where he worked in the Global Sponsor Finance Group. In various roles at GE, Mr. Papalas was responsible for originating, underwriting and managing investments in leveraged transactions. He also worked as a certified Black Belt where he was responsible for redesigning multiple risk processes for Commercial Finance’s cash flow loan portfolio. Prior to joining GE, Mr. Papalas was an engineering consultant focusing on operations and design.
Mr. Walker is responsible for underwriting and managing middle market debt investments for the Freeport loan funds. Prior to co-founding Freeport in 2005, Mr. Walker spent five years with GE Commercial Finance where he worked in the Global Sponsor Finance Group. In his role at GE, Mr. Walker was responsible for originating, underwriting and managing senior and junior debt facilities and equity co-investments in leveraged transactions. Prior to joining GE, he practiced corporate litigation at Baker & McKenzie in Chicago.