Pritzker Organization can be fast and flexible in deals: Tarschis

  • Pritzker can hold investments for longer than PE, says exec
  • Doesn’t answer to a group of LPs
  • The firm acquired Lithko Contracting in March

Patience and flexibility are some of the advantages family offices like Pritzker Organization have over other types of investors, including private equity, according to Larry Tarschis, a principal.

The Chicago firm has permanent capital and can hold investments much longer than PE can, Tarschis said. Pritzker also doesn’t answer to a group of LPs but has a “one-person decision-maker,” Tarschis said during the Sixth Annual Liquidity and Capital Raising National Forum on Oct. 25 at the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan.

Pritzker Organization, as a family office, has the “benefit of being very patient,” Tarschis said.

If it likes a deal, Pritzker can act fast. The firm once needed only three days to make a $100 million investment, Tarschis said. He didn’t identify the deal. “If we think the situation is good, we can do things others often can’t,” he said.

Tarschis made the comments during a panel, “Fueling the Fire: How Leading Firms are Accelerating Growth and Closing Deals – Even in a Slow Growth Environment.” How much capital Pritzker has is unclear.

“We like to hunt in the niches where private equity doesn’t play,” he said. “We don’t have boxes to check with LPs. We’re very long-term growth investors.”

Family offices have emerged as a force in middle-market M&A, Buyouts reported in December. More and more family offices are competing in M&A auctions against PE and strategics. On its website Pritzker Organization said it’s not a traditional family office. It is the merchant bank for the business interests of certain members of the Pritzker family, a statement said.

The Pritzker family is known for its long holds and has owned dozens of portfolio companies. The family famously invested $1 million in Triton Containers in 1980 and sold it for more than $1 billion in 2009. Pritzker also owned Hyatt Hotels for more than 55 years before taking the company public in 2009.

More recently, in March, Pritzker Organization acquired Lithko Contracting. And it acquired TMS International for about $1 billion in 2013.

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