Arctos opens London office to fuel sports franchise growth

The firm is sending a managing director with prior Goldman Sachs and HarbourVest Partners experience in the secondaries market to lead the outpost, PEI has learned.

Arctos Partners, the sports-focused firm that raised the largest first-time private equity fund in 2021, is opening its first office outside of North America, Private Equity International has learned.

The Dallas-headquartered firm is opening an office in London with managing director Alastair Seaman set to relocate to lead the outpost, according to a source familiar with the matter. The office is the third globally and adds to Arctos’s New York office.

The UK office will help Arctos provide insight, identify opportunities and advise its franchises on global expansion, it is understood. It has invested in more than 20 sports franchises and adjacent businesses, according to its website.

Seaman is a secondaries executive by trade. In 2020, he joined Arctos from Goldman Sachs Asset Management where he was a vice-president and member of the bank’s Vintage Funds team focusing on secondaries, according to Arctos’s website. Seaman executed on a range of secondaries deals at GSAM, including complex direct secondaries and special situations to more traditional secondaries investments.

Prior to GSAM, Seaman was a senior associate in the London office of HarbourVest Partners, the 11th-largest secondaries firm by fundraising, according to affiliate title Secondaries Investor‘s SI 50 ranking. A member of the secondary investment group, Seaman focused on sourcing and evaluating secondary opportunities, including traditional and complex transactions, Arctos’s website notes.

Arctos is seeking $2.5 billion for its sophomore sports-focused fund, according to PEI data. It was expected to hold the final close on the fund in the second quarter of this year, according to materials from Kentucky Public Pensions Authority.

Arctos Sports Partners Fund II, launched in late 2021 with a $2.5 billion target, is expected to wrap up in the second quarter of this year, materials published by Kentucky Public Pensions Authority said.

The firm’s debut fund, Arctos Sports Partners Fund I, raised $2.9 billion in 2021, beating its $1.8 billion target, according to PEI data.

Arctos holds stakes in the National Basketball Assocation, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer, according to its website. It also owns stakes in franchises including the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and Fenway Sports Group, owner of Premier League team Liverpool FC, and reportedly has been pursuing a stake in Paris Saint-Germain FC.

The firm was founded in 2019 by former Landmark Partners secondaries veteran Ian Charles and David O’Connor, ex-chief executive of the Madison Square Garden Company. Arctos launched with Goldman Sachs’s Petershill GP stakes unit as an anchor investor.

A spokesperson for Arctos declined to comment for this report.