Ex-Bear Stearns M&A chief launches pledge fund

Louis Friedman, who has a long history as a dealmaker on Wall Street, is now corralling investors for a deal-by-deal private equity platform.

Former Bear Stearns mergers and acquisitions chief Louis Friedman has launched a private equity business called Flexis Capital that is structured as a “pledge fund”, giving investors the freedom to choose which deals they will fund.

Flexis’ investor base includes family offices, funds of funds and hedge funds, and the firm is in discussions with some institutional investors with the potential to become investors. Geographically, the investor base is spread out from the Middle East, North America and Asia.

According to a source close to the situation, the amount of money the firms’ investors have indicated they would like to invest would allow the firm to write equity checks for $25 million to $100 million per deal. The firm will target mid-market companies with value less than $1 billion. 

“It’s as if you had the firepower of a $1 billion fund,” the source said.

The firm would focus on opportunities to invest capital across all types of public and private deals, for minority and control investments. Flexis will target the general industry, media, telecommunications, and consumer sectors in the US and Europe.

Friedman has a long history as a dealmaker on Wall Street. He was the senior managing director and co-head of mergers and acquisitions group at Bear Stearns, which he joined in 2000, and left just before the former investment bank went bust.

After Bear, Friedman worked a short stint at P. Schoenfeld Asset Management working on the creation of a private investment and long-term public holding strategy.

Before Bear, he worked as the head of media and communications mergers and acquisitions at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Friedman also spent time at Wasserstein Perella, which he joined after leaving The First Boston Corporation with a group of investment bankers led by Bruce Wasserstein and Joe Perella.