With CEO Shift, Times Are A-Changin’ At Charlesbank

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Charlesbank Capital Partners has announced that Michael Eisenson will step down as CEO, a role he’s held ever since the firm’s founding in 1998. Current president Michael Choe will take over as CEO on July 1, with Eisenson continuing as co-chairman along with fellow founding partner Kim Davis. Choe has been Charlesbank’s president since 2014.

The change comes at a time when the Boston-based firm seems to be ramping up its rate of investment—although that trend has slowed in the first five months of 2017. Charlesbank has increased its annual deal activity steadily since 2009, from six in that first year after the financial crisis to an all-time high of 20 during 2016, per the PitchBook Platform. The middle-market investor has completed just three new investments so far this year, but it seems reasonable to expect a quiet few months with a change in firm leadership looming.

As it has become more active, Charlesbank has gradually begun to raise larger and larger pools of capital. Here’s a recap of its recent funds, along with some relevant performance metrics from the PitchBook Platform (data for the most recent funds as of 4Q 2016:

Dating to its inception, just about a quarter of Charlesbank’s total investments—24% each—have occurred in the B2B and B2C sectors, per PitchBook data. Those have also been the two most popular sectors across the PE industry as a whole over that same 20-year span. In terms of geography, the vast majority of Charlesbank’s private equity deals have occurred in its home nation: Nearly 86% of the firm’s investment targets in the past two decades have been based in the US.

Most of those deals have been on a smaller scale, but a few have reached the billion-dollar barrier—particularly within the past five years. In 2012, for instance, Charlesbank portfolio company Zayo acquired fellow fiber-communications provider AboveNet in a take-private buyout for about $2.2 billion. Two years later, Charlesbank bought Varsity Brands, a provider of athletic and academic products for schools and sports teams, for approximately $1.5 billion.

Will those general trends toward more, larger deals continue at Charlesbank with Choe in charge? In about a month’s time, we’ll begin to find out.

Want more info on Charlesbank’s recent investments, past funds and more? PitchBook subscribers can access it all.

Article by Kevin Dowd, PitchBook

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