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Victor Capital, ex-Blackstone exec’s independent sponsor, buys Tender Corp

  • Prospect invested in Tender in October 2008
  • Korn started Victor Capital in late 2015
  • Korn was first BX hire directly from MBA program

Victor Capital Partners, the independent sponsor led by a former Blackstone Group executive, clinched its second deal.

The New York firm invested in Tender Corp along with company management. Victor will have a more than 80 percent stake in the company, said Douglas Korn, founder and managing partner.

Terms weren’t disclosed, but Victor Capital typically invests $20 million to $100 million equity per deal. Tender CEO Jason Cartwright is retaining a stake, a statement said.

Founded in 1973, Tender, Littleton, New Hampshire, sells branded consumer products like Ben’s and Natrapel insect repellents, which help protect consumers from diseases like Zika and West Nile.

The company offers After Bite, which provides relief from insect bites, as well as a suite of medical kits that are sold by specialty stores and Amazon.com.

Tender employs about 180 people and produces less than $100 million in revenue, Korn said.

Tender’s offerings attract millennials, who are more focused on experiences, Korn said. The products, however, are suited to people of all ages, he said.

“They help people enjoy the outdoors more,” he said. “[One] of the things that attracted us to [them] is that these are niche products that have broad applications in any households.”

Prospect Partners, the seller, invested in Tender in October 2008. The Chicago PE firm targets the lower middle market, investing in companies with Ebitda up to $8 million. Sectors include niche manufacturing, distribution and specialty service markets.

“Tender was a great investment for us,” said Rick Tuttle, Prospect’s founding principal.

Victor Capital invests deal by deal. Capital for Tender came from Victor Capital itself and several high-net-worth friends of the firm and some large family offices, Korn said.

This differs from Victor Capital’s first deal, the acquisition of Primaloft in 2017, which had backing from the PE group at Allstate.

Blackstone’s first MBA hire

Korn himself has a storied background on Wall Street. He was Blackstone’s first hire directly from an MBA program, when he graduated from Harvard Business School in 1988. At that time Blackstone had an $800 million buyout fund, which was “considered very large,” Korn said.

In the mid-1990s, he helped launch EOS Partners, which invests in PE, credit and public markets. In 1998, he joined Bear Stearns Merchant Banking, which eventually morphed into Irving Place Capital.

Korn started Victor Capital in late 2015. The firm has four employees but plans to hire in the next year, he said.

Victor focuses on consumer as well as industrial and business services. The firm isn’t interested in commodities, private label or pure manufacturing, he said.

“We only invest in companies with brands,” Korn said. “Those could be consumer brands, industrial brands or services. We have substantial experience and resources to help drive the value of those brands.”

While Victor Capital doesn’t have a fund, that could change. “We’re enjoying what we’re doing right now and it’s working well,” Korn said. “I wouldn’t rule out something more institutional somewhere in the future.”

Piper Jaffray represented Tender in the sale to Victor Capital.

Tender could not immediately be reached for comment.

Action Item: Contact Tender at +1 800-258-4696