Looking back on York's private equity push

By Rob Copeland

Tue Apr 9, 2013

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Absolute Return also revisits Serengeti's business development turnover.


One year ago

>> Serengeti Asset Management partner Matthew Root, who had been responsible for business development and investor relations, departed.

Root landed on his feet this year at freshly-merged fund of funds Kenmar Olympia Group as a senior managing director. Serengeti recently named his replacement: Daniel Eichner, formerly a managing director for investor relations at private equity shop Garrison Investment Group.

See also: Goldman and Serengeti analyst goes solo

>> Small cap-focused GROW Partners launched with $50 million from two investors: TCW founder Robert Addison Day's multifamily office and investment bank ROTH Capital.

The GROW Small Cap Long/Short Equity Fund, which launched in April, was down 5.65% by yearend, worse than the 0.27% slide for the Absolute Return U.S. Equity Index (see the fund's full performance here). Despite the rocky start, the fund ended the year managing about $64 million and now has approximately $75 million.

This year, the fund has already surpassed its losses, gaining 14.36% in the first quarter of 2013 and blowing past the 3.36% median return for the benchmark. "We're happy to have good partners, a good team and pleased to be managing a small cap portfolio," Wiese said this week.

Five years ago

>> York Capital Management hired two executives from insurance company Leucadia National Corp. as co-heads of the York Special Opportunities Fund, the firm's inaugural push into private equity.

The move has been a stunning success, with the fund generated an internal rate of return of 21.5% through the end of last year, according to investor documents obtained by Absolute Return, propelling York to set a fundraising target of $500 million for a second vehicle, the York Special Opportunities Fund II, in the first half of this year. Meanwhile, the two heads of the business, Zalmie Jacobs and Luis Madeiros, remain with York as part of a seven-person PE team. The fund's most recent profit-taking came from the sale in September of a stake in Shell Vacations, which netted a 3.8x return, the documents indicate.

Kelly Smith, an external spokesman for York at PR firm Abernathy McGregor, declined to comment.

See returns for the firm's hedge funds here.

ISSN: 2151-1845 / CDC10004H