First Union Adds Nine to Private Equity –

NEW YORK – Bowles Hollowell Conner in July hired three managing directors and nine new professionals in an ongoing effort to expand its private equity coverage.

The New York-based division of First Union Capital Markets Corp. now has almost 20 professionals dedicated to serving the financial sponsor community, said David Knowlton, co-head of private equity coverage.

“This group spearheads [the bank’s] ability to bring products to the sponsor community,” Knowlton said.

The group can receive assignments from any number of areas within the bank, but Knowlton said once an assignment is in, the group will look to identify a buyer and then provide the financial products needed to close the deal. In addition to the financial sponsor group, the group’s merchant bank has become increasingly active throughout private equity, investing $300 million to $400 million in direct transactions and a comparable amount in private equity funds.

The New Staffers

Jeff Armstrong, Dan Bumgardner and Cliff Strain are the three managing directors most recently hired. Armstrong came to the firm from Salomon Smith Barney, where he was a managing director in the financial entrepreneurs group providing the private equity group with idea flow and a full range of equity and debt products.

Bumgardner comes to First Union after 16 years with Chase Manhattan, most recently as a managing director in acquisition finance. Primarily in charge of originating and executing bank loans and high-yield financings, he also had responsibility for delivering private equity, mergers and acquisitions and derivatives to financial sponsor clients.

Most recently a principal in the financial sponsors group at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Strain has 12 years of investment banking experience. At Morgan Stanley, Strain raised senior, subordinated and equity capital for private equity groups and provided merger and acquisition advisory services.

“We will continue to pursue opportunistic hires at the senior level,” Knowlton said. “All three of these guys wanted to be in on the ground floor with the sponsors.”

Knowlton joined First Union in April after most recently having worked with Eric Gleacher for three years. Prior to joining Gleacher, Knowlton had worked in investment banking at Chase.