Ex-NBA star Robinson makes first private equity investment

Admiral Capital Group, launched by former NBA star David Robinson and former Goldman Sachs banker Daniel Bassichis, has acquired a stake in Kohlberg-owned concessions company Centerplate. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Admiral Capital Group, a private equity firm launched by former US National Basketball League superstar David Robinson, has purchased a stake in Centerplate, a sports arena concessions company owned by Kohlberg and Company.

Terms of the Centerplate deal, which is Admiral’s first private equity investment, were not disclosed.

The firm will help Centerplate expand its business and also will partner with nonprofit collaborative Living City to provide support for lower-income employees and communities associated with Centerplate, the company said in a statement. Centerplate already plays an active role in communities throughout North America providing fund raising opportunities to nonprofit organisations, food to shelters and job skills training for thousands of people each year.

“We see the partnership as an extremely attractive opportunity both from an absolute return standpoint and from the perspective of effecting positive social change,” Robinson said in a statement. Robinson will join Centerplate’s board of directors.

Kohlberg acquired Centerplate in a deal that hit some road blocks after the financial markets crashed last fall. Kohlberg slashed its deal offer in December from $4 a share to $2.50 per share after Cleveland-based National City pulled out of financing the deal.

Centerplate provides gourmet catering services to more than 120 sports facilities, convention centers and other entertainment venues throughout the US and Canada.

Robinson launched Admiral Capital with former Goldman Sachs banker Daniel Bassichis in 2007. The goal of the firm is to combine an “interest in private equity, a desire to make a positive social impact with the overall goal of creating a long term sustainable business”, the firm said on its web site.

The firm's capital structure was unclear as of press time, and Admiral did not return a call for comment.