NEWMAN'S OWN

The placement agent business can always be counted on to be in a state of constant change. The latest personnel disruptions emanate from Atlantic-Pacific Capital, a major, independent capital-raising business based in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Kevin Newman, who joined Atlantic-Pacific as its president and chief operating officer only a year ago, has left to form his own advisory firm. However, Newman will continue to work with Atlantic-Pacific as a senior advisor. The change has been amicable, a source said, noting that Newman maintains an office and an assistant at the firm's headquarters.

In a separate departure, another senior partner at Atlantic-Pacific, Dan Prendergast, who worked out of the firm's San Francisco office, has quit.

Newman's independent placement and marketing advisory business is called Kevin P. Newman Associates.

Newman joined Atlantic-Pacific in April 2003 after a long career as a marketing professional at Lehman Brothers, where he raised a total of more than $36 billion for private equity funds and structured products. At the time, Atlantic-Pacific's founder, chairman and chief executive officer, James Manley, said he was pleased to hire an experienced executive to oversee the operations and day-to-day activities of the firm.

Manley founded Atlantic-Pacific in 1995. The firm has become the largest player in a market once dominated by investment bank-affiliated firms like Merrill Lynch and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Atlantic-Pacific has 22 professionals with additional offices in London, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco and Hong Kong.

The year 2002 was a particularly successful one for Atlantic-Pacific, during which it raised two major funds – the $1.5 billion Resolute Fund (managed by The Jordan Company) and the $2.2 billion Matlin Patterson Global Opportunities Partnership, a distressed debt vehicle managed by a CSFB spin-out team. “Everybody was jealous of Atlantic-Pacific's 2002 performance,” says a placement agent at a competing firm. “They were getting all of these huge deals done and everybody else was just sucking.”

The separate source said Prendergast's departure is related to Manley's disproportionate claim to the firm's economics. This issue will strike observers of GP groups as familiar. In fact, Manley is planning for something also sought after by many founders of private equity firms – liquidity. The source said Manley has been in discussions with a number of institutions about the potential sale of the Atlantic- Pacific franchise.

Like fund-management firms, most of the value of a placement business resides in its people, who can suddenly walk out if they feel underappreciated, as evidenced last year when nine Merrill Lynch placement agents left en masse to join Lazard Freres' new capital-raising unit.

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