In his 27-year career, Cesar Baez has held a variety of senior positions in private equity, media and investment banking. He has now turned his attention to funding emerging managers. A $400 million commitment from the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) for his new firm, Centinela Capital Partners, makes Baez as a major player in this growing niche.
Baez first encountered private equity at Smith Barney in the 1990s. Dallas-based Hicks Muse Tate & Furst was one of his clients. “They raised $275 million, which at the time was a pretty sizeable fund,” remembers Beaz.
Beaz became a principal at Hicks Muse. There from 1995 until 2001, Baez established a Latin America private equity investment vehicle and invested more than $2 billion throughout Latin America.
“It's very volatile,” Baez says of the private equity business in Latin America. “There are short windows of opportunity. It is not for the weak of mind.”
Baez then left Hicks Muse to become the president and CEO of CEI Media Holdings, an Argentinean media holding company that invests in television, publishing and sports marketing. He later co-founded the New York-based Momentum Media Capital, a firm focusing on Hispanic and ethnic media companies in the US.
In 2004, Beaz joined the State of New Jersey Investment Division, a $72 billion benefit plan, as the head of alternative investments. Baez calls this stint “public service”.
Eighteen months later, he moved to Deutsche Bank Alternative Investments as head of strategy, institutional business development and private equity. But a year later, Beaz decided to launch Centinela as an emerging manager fund with the help of CalPERS.
His partners are Jonathan LaCrosse, who formerly ran the private equity division at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Robert Taylor, formerly of Blue Capital, and Fidel Vargas, formerly a managing director at the buyout firm Reliant Equity Partners. The fund will be based out of Los Angeles and New York, with two partners in each office, Baez says. Baez himself will work from the New York office.
“We are all very passionate about investing in emerging managers,” Baez says, defining emerging managers as first-and second-time funds and spinouts as well as women and minority-owned business that seek capital. “CalPERS will be the catalyst for others to take a look at emerging managers.”
KARP TO EXIT APAX US
Allan Karp, the co-CEO of Apax Partners US, will “transition out” of the firm over the next year, according to a source close to the firm. Karp is a co-founder of Saunders, Karp & Megrue, a US middle-market buyout firm that last year merged with Apax Partners in a rare example of private equity firm consolidation. The deal was part of Apax's effort to deepan its presence in the US market. Apax Partners US is currently in the market with a fund that is seeking to raise $1.5 billion. Karp will remain with the firm for the next year and keep all his board seats, the source said, adding that the departure is “very friendly”. Karp is a member of Apax's global executive committee, its US investment committee and approval committee.
FORMER AVON EXECUTIVE TO JOIN CARLYLE
Pauline Brown, a former senior vice president for corporate strategy and global business development at the beauty product retailer Avon Products, has agreed to join The Carlyle Group's consumer and retail group as a managing director, Carlyle said last month. Brown has had extensive experience in the beauty product industry. Prior to joining Avon in 2005, she worked at Estee Lauder Companies Inc., where she was the vice president of corporate strategy and new business development. Brown also has previous investment experience. She worked as a management consultant at Boston-based consultant Bain & Company before joining Estee Lauder.
ADVENT ADDS SIX TO NORTH AMERICAN DEAL TEAM
Global private equity group, Advent International, added six members to its boston-based North American team last month to enhance the firm's $3.3 billion (€2.6 billion) buyout programme. The firm's buyout programme invests in North American and Western Europe. Jeff Case, formerly an analyst at bowles Hollowell conner/First Union Securities, and John Maldonado, formerly of middle market private equity firm Parthenon Capital, join Advent as principals. Case will specialize in retail and consumer buyout opportunities, and Maldonado will concentrate on business and financial services as well as healthcare services. New associates at advent are David Chen, formerly a member of the financial institutions group at Merrill Lynch, Bryan Doherty, formerly of William Blair, and Kevin McQuarrie, formerly of Lazard Freres' life sciences group, and Thomas Weisman, formerly of UBS Investment Bank.
PACIFIC CORPORATE TAKES ON NEW MANAGING DIRECTOR
La Jolla, California-based Pacific Corporate Group hired David Fann to serve as a managing director in the firm's asset management group last month. In his 20-year career in the private equity industry, Fann has had experience in origination, review, structuring, negotiation, portfolio management and investment exit. His most recent project was the founding of Inflection Equity Partners, a Mountain view, California-based technology buyout firm. Prior to that, Fan worked at United States Trust Company, a New York-based asset management firm, from 1994-2004. There, he managed private equity, alternative investment and structured investment business units.
TOM CRUISE JOINS MGM
Private equity-owned production and distribution company Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer Inc., (MGM) which is owned by a group of private equity firms, brought on Tom Cruise and his current production partner, Paula Wagner, to form MGM's production affiliate, New United Artists last month. New United Artists is a “rebirth” of United Artists, MGM said. Providence Equity Partners, a Providence, Rhode Island-based investment firm specializing in media and communications companies, owns 29 percent. San Francisco, California based Texas Pacific Group Ventures, a venture capital and leverage buyout firm, owns 21 percent. Boston-based DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, a private equity fund, owns seven percent. Quadrangle Group, a New York-based private investment firm that focuses on media and communications group sin the United States and Europe, owns three percent. Sony Corporation of America and cable service provider Comcast each own twenty percent.
CLEAN TECHNOLOGY TEAM GETS BOOST AT BATTERY
Venture capital and private equity firm Battery Ventures hired David Dreessen as a partner in late October. Dreessen comes to the firm from the energy investment firm Nth Power. There, he founded Structure Group, a consulting and software firm focused on the power industry. Battery also promoted Jason Matlof, a venture partner based at the firm's Menlo Park, California office, to partner. Since joining Battery as a venture partner in 2005, Matlof has worked on portfolio companies Advent Solar, a manufacturer of advanced technology solar cells and modules, and Agito Networks, a startup focused on enterprise mobility.
TRIAGO-X APPOINTS HEAD OF NEW US OFFICE
Triago-X, a private equity fund secondary transactions specialist based in Paris, hired Jean-Marc Cuvilly to lead its new New York office in late October. “The company already has an enviable track record in Europe where it is firmly established as the market leader and we now intend to build our US offering further in order to provide a truly global reach in the secondaries market, Cuvilly said in a statement. Cuvilly left San Francisco-based Probitas Partners, which he joined in December of 2005, to join Triago. At Probitas, Cuvilly worked in company's New York office as a vice president.