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Michael Dell-Backed House Cranks Up Private Equity Pace

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor , August 4, 2020

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MSD Capital was set up in 1998 to run the capital of Michael Dell and his family. In 2009, the principals of that entity formed MSD Partners, LP, an SEC-registered investment advisor. The latest moves show it is stepping up private equity activity.

MSD Partners, a private investment house supported by tech tycoon Michael Dell’s family office, has reshuffled senior figures as it prepares to ramp up private capital investing, a move trailed by a report late last year.

The organization has appointed Kevin Brown and John Civantos as co-heads of its Private Capital Group, or MSD PCG. Both men had previously worked for over a decade together at another firm, Court Square Capital Partners. 

MSD PCG leads the MSD Partners’ private equity effort, and for the first time, external investors are being courted. 

Doug Londal, the head of MSD PCG since 2015, has decided to step away from the day-to-day running of the group “in order to allow the next generation of leaders to continue to grow the private capital business”, according to a statement from the business.  Londal will remain a partner of the firm and will continue to work with existing portfolio companies, source investment opportunities and help manage investor relationships.

Brown, who has been with MSD PCG since 2016, was most recently senior managing director of MSD PCG. Prior to MSD, he was a partner with Court Square Capital Partners, where he worked primarily in the industrials sector for 10 years. Before that, Brown was with Apax Partners focusing on investments in the media, late-stage software, and tech-enabled business services sectors. Since joining MSD, Brown has led its control investments in Endries International, Hayward Industries and Ring Container Technologies.

Civantos was most recently an MP with Court Square Capital Partners, which he joined in 2004. At Court Square, Civantos was primarily focused on the firm's investing efforts in the business services and technology sectors.

Since the start of 2016, MSD PCG’s investments have included Endries International, Hayward Industries, Ring Container Technologies, Owl Rock Capital Corporation, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), WIRB-Copernicus Group (WCG) and Transaction Network Services.  Major realizations during this period include WCG and UFC.

MSD Capital, LP was established in 1998 to run the capital of Michael Dell and his family. In 2009, the principals of MSD Capital formed MSD Partners, LP, an SEC-registered investment advisor, to enable a select group of investors to invest in strategies that were developed by MSD Capital. The organizations are based in New York and manage over $15 billion of assets.

The move into private capital by family offices and other wealth managers has been driven by a desire for yield against a backdrop of ultra-low interest rates. High valuations for listed equities have squeezed yields, a picture that, apparently, has not yet been greatly changed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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