First Round: Golfing around

The Spanish island of Majorca is known for its glorious sunshine, pristine beaches and World Heritage site. In the world of secondaries, it’s also known as the location of an exclusive buyers’ retreat.

The event, held at the end of summer by advisory firm Greenhill Cogent, attracts some of the sector’s best and brightest players, and we don’t just mean in terms of deal sourcing and execution. First Round hears that attendees can choose either golf, tennis or hiking as an activity, with golf being the least popular. Why? No one likes being beaten by Scottish secondaries execs who have the game running through their veins.

And who would, when SL Capital Partners is teeing off in front of you? Word has it Standard Life’s private equity unit boasts an host of highly skilled linksmen and that in recent years, attendees have preferred hiking up a vertical mountain to a leisurely round.

Speaking of a good walk spoiled, First Round also hears that this year’s hike was somewhat more strenuous than recent years and that attendees expecting a calm stroll during which LP stakes or GP-led deals could be discussed returned a little more exhausted than expected.

Of course, Majorca isn’t the only date in the secondaries calendar when participants get together to relax and chew the fat – a certain annual ski retreat in Utah springs to First Round’s mind, as do the buyers’ dinners arranged on either side of summer, one by advisory firm Campbell Lutyens, the other by Toronto’s Setter Capital. First Round will let readers decide which of these sources describe as the more “interesting” affair.

Back to the Mediterranean and it’s not just SL Capital who clean up on the golf course – word has it that a London member of Goldman Sachs’s alternative investments unit is a semi-pro. No doubt Cogent’s retreat is the rare occasion secondaries buyers would be happy with par.