Friend Skoler creates ‘event photography’ platform

The New Jersey, KKR-backed firm has joined with Raymond James to invest in graduation and marathon photographers Chappell Studio and Bob Knight Photomarketing.

Raymond James Capital and Friend Skoler announced today the formation of Event Photography Group, as well as the group’s investment in Chappell Studio and Bob Knight Photomarketing, providers of photography services for school graduations and reunions, as well as endurance races in North America and Europe.

Iowa-based Chappell, the largest photographer of high school and college graduations in North America, also photographs dozens of endurance racing events a year, including the Boston and Chicago Marathons. Bob Knight Photomarketing, based in Tallahassee, Florida, is the leading photographer of high school and university graduation events in the Southeast US and California. Both companies provide their services directly to customers through US mail and the Internet.

“EPG represents an exciting platform that is well-positioned to grow both organically and through acquisitions,” David Thomas, a managing director at Raymond James Capital, said in a statement.

Raymond James Capital is a subsidiary of Raymond James Financial, one of the largest investment banks in the Southeastern US.

Friend Skoler, founded in 1998, is a New Jersey-based private equity firm that invests in leading middle-market businesses; it currently manages a fund with $231 million in capital commitments. The firm is managed by Alexander Friend and Steven Skoler, who have invested together since 1986. Friend Skoler was originally backed by capital contributions from the partners of New York buyout giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Prior to its fund, the firm utilised a ‘pledge fund’ structure, by which backers may decide whether and how much to contribute on a deal-by-deal basis.