NEW YORK – Douglas Brent in May left his post as president of BT Capital Partners, the private equity arm of Bankers Trust Corp., to establish his own buyout firm. The move comes in the shadow of an imminent merger between Bankers Trust and Deutsche Bank that likely will produce a restructuring of both BT Capital and Morgan Grenfell Private Equity, Deutsche Bank’s private equity arm.
Although at press time details of the new firm, tentatively called Brent Enterprises, had yet to be decided.
“The goal is to spend the next couple of months, while I’m not employed by someone else, thinking about the size and scope of what I am going to be doing,” Mr. Brent said about his new solo venture.
Sources familiar with Mr. Brent’s plans said he likely will begin fund raising in the next several months for a buyout fund that will sport a target of between $250 million and $400 million. Mr. Brent confirmed that his new project would include a limited partnership raised from outside investors – unlike BT Capital, which relies exclusively on capital supplied by its parent – but declined to provide a projected size for the effort. He did say, however, that he likely would want to keep the investor pool limited to avoid an overly drawn out fund raising. “My inclination is to try to do something with a small handful of L.P.s and not spend 18 months on the road,” he said.
Although timing played an obvious role in Mr. Brent’s decision to depart the group with which he had served for the past 13 years, he has decided to embark on a fund raising at one of the most competitive periods in the last 10 years, especially for first time efforts. Mr. Brent agreed today’s market for raising new funds has become more competitive, but also noted that the amount of money being allocated to alternative assets, specifically to buyouts, is also at an all-time high.
A placement agent who had not been contacted by Mr. Brent and who declined to comment for the record said Mr. Brent would have to be able to prove that he had led a substantial amount of deals at BT Capital – which employs more than 30 investment professionals worldwide – and that he had put together a team that would be able to help him compete in the marketplace without the resources of a parent investment bank.
“[Personnel] is always a concern for anybody who spins out on his own from a banking group,” the placement agent said. “It is just a matter of whether he has got the team and … the track record to make the investments.”
According to Mr. Brent, he played an active role in several of BT Capital’s buyouts, and his new effort will continue to invest in companies with enterprise values of approximately $200 million, the same size he worked with at his former group.
Regarding personnel, Mr. Brent said he has some ideas about who he would like to work with in the future but declined to disclose names and whether he had met with anyone.