UMich backs Grey Rock Energy, co-led by Gov. Perry’s son

  • Co-founder Griffin Perry was spokesman for father’s presidential campaign
  • Co-founders include energy vets Matt Miller, Kirk Lazarine
  • Firm seeking $150 mln, per SEC filing

University of Michigan earmarked $30 million to form a new relationship with Grey Rock Energy Partners, a natural-resources firm targeting $150 million for investments in distressed oil and gas assets.

The university’s Board of Regents approved the commitment to Grey Rock Energy Fund II at its Sept. 15 meeting.

Grey Rock will use its second flagship fund to acquire stakes in North American oil and gas wells being sold at distressed prices. A UMich investment memo showed that low oil and gas prices have forced the operators of some wells to unload their assets at discounted prices.

The firm’s debut fund raised around $44.5 million in 2014, a Form ADV filed with the SEC in March said.

The Dallas firm is led by co-founders Kirk Lazarine, Matt Miller and Griffin Perry.

Lazarine, a former chief executive of KOR Resources, previously was an area manager for Chevron’s non-conventional gas team. Miller was previously a vice president at Parallel Resource Partners, a private equity firm targeting investments in U.S. oil and gas assets.

Prior to co-founding Grey Rock, Perry was president of oil and gas investment company Caddis Energy and worked for his father, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, as a spokesman during the 2012 presidential election.

Grey Rock Energy did not respond to a request for comment.

The $9.9 billion endowment also released information about $72 million of new commitments to venture capital and natural-resource funds at its Sept. 15 meeting. UMich staff has the authority to authorize re-ups to existing managers without Board of Regents approval.

University of Michigan extended its longstanding relationship with Sequoia Capital, allocating $18 million across Sequoia Capital China Venture Fund VI and Sequoia Capital China Growth Fund IV, according to an investment disclosure. Both funds will invest in Chinese companies in the IT, consumer, healthcare and energy sectors.

UMich also allocated $50 million to Orion Mine Finance Fund II, which will invest in mid-to late-stage mine-financing projects, its meeting materials said. Fund II is managed by Orion Mine Finance Group.

The endowment also committed $4 million to Matrix Partners India II Extension Fund, a Matrix Partners fund that will invest in early- and growth-stage Indian companies across a variety of sectors.

University of Michigan held 41.9 percent of its assets in alternative investments as of May 31, according to endowment documents. Its alternatives holdings include a $1.4 billion VC portfolio, $1.2 billion of PE investments and $634 million of natural-resource assets.

Action Item: More about Grey Rock Energy Partners: www.greyrockep.com

Texas Gov. Rick Perry gestures as he stands with his wife Anita (right) and son Griffin after announcing he is dropping his run for the Republican U.S. presidential nomination during a news conference in Charleston, South Carolina, on January 19, 2012. Photo courtesy Reuters/Eric Thayer