TZP makes first-ever investment

The two-year-old New York-based firm’s deal with avVenta Worldwide comes after looking at nearly 150 potential investment opportunities in 2008.

New York-based private equity firm TZP Group, which was founded in 2007, has made its first-ever deal, investing $20 million in online marketing and production services company avVenta Worldwide. The firm is raising its first fund for an undisclosed amount.

With headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina, avVenta specialises in digital production and interactive services, and counts Microsoft, Citigroup, Sony, MTV and eBay among its clients. The company offers lower-cost end-to-end digital production and rich media solutions.

TZP managing partner Sam Katz said his firm looked at around 150 transactions last year, and chose avVenta as its first investment due to its expertise in both media and marketing services. TZP also liked the company's strong recent growth and opportunities for future expansion through investment in new production centers, as well as acquisitions and partnerships. Although remaining cautious during the current period, the firm continues to evaluate at least 10 opportunities a month, Katz said.

“What we’re looking at is buying very good quality franchise businesses that will be around when the economy recovers,” Katz told PEO. “One of the things we’d like to do is take advantage of this environment and use a company as a platform and build on it. When it is a bad environment it is a good time to make deals.”

Katz has previous experience building up smaller companies through acquisitions from his time as an associate and vice president at The Blackstone Group, while he most recently served as chief operating officer of MacAndrews & Forbes Acquisition Holdings.

Following the deal with avVenta, Katz will become chairman of the company and senior principal Dan Galpern, a former chief operating officer of CurtCo Media Labs, will join the Board of Directors. As part of the firm’s strategy of being a “partner of choice” for business owners, avVenta founder and CEO Jay Noce is maintaining a significant stake in the company.

TZP is focused on control investments in companies with enterprise values ranging from $50 million to $100 million. The firm is targeting industries including real estate services, direct marketing, media content and distribution and healthcare.

TZP's board of advisors includes Robert Stevenish, the former president and chief operating offices of Modell’s Sporting Goods, and ITA Software founder Jeremy Wertheimer.