EJF Capital Receives Strategic Minority Investment From Kudu

Neal Wilson Named Co-Chief Executive Officer

NEW YORK and ARLINGTON, Va., September 4, 2019 – EJF Capital LLC (“EJF”), a global alternative asset management firm focused on regulatory event driven themes across the financial and real estate sectors, today announced that Kudu Investment Management, LLC (“Kudu”), a New York-based independent provider of permanent capital solutions to asset and wealth managers worldwide, has made a strategic minority investment in EJF. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The investment by Kudu, a firm with a passive, patient capital model, will not impact the day-to-day operations of EJF, and the firm’s investment and decision-making processes will remain the same. EJF intends to use the proceeds as strategic growth capital to invest in its existing and future funds and securitization vehicles.

“Kudu has significant experience investing in specialized investment managers and we welcome them as a long-term strategic partner,” said EJF co-founders Manny Friedman and Neal Wilson. “This investment provides EJF with permanent capital that will strengthen our business and bolster our ability to build and scale our global platform over time.”

“We are thrilled to support EJF, a firm distinguished by its talented team led by Manny and Neal, creative investment approach and strong track record of performance,” said Rob Jakacki, Kudu’s CEO. “Our investment will help EJF expand its global investment offerings and we look forward to a long-term relationship.”

EJF also announced that Neal Wilson, co-founder and chief operating officer, has been named the firm’s co-chief executive officer alongside Mr. Friedman.

“Neal and I launched EJF 14 years ago with the goal of creating a collaborative and collegial environment with a client-first approach. It gives me great pleasure that Neal is joining me as co-CEO. He is a true partner, visionary investor and natural leader. I am excited to work alongside Neal for years to come,” Mr. Friedman said.

In addition to EJF, Kudu’s valued partners include alternatives platform TIG Advisors; real assets investor Versus Capital; European alternative credit specialist Fair Oaks Capital; property fund manager Savanna; and wealth managers B|O|S and First Long Island Investors. These firms collectively manage approximately $30 billion in AUM for institutional and individual investors worldwide.

Barclays Capital Inc. served as financial advisor and Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP served as legal advisor to EJF. Seward & Kissel LLP served as legal advisor to Kudu.

About EJF Capital

EJF is a global institutional alternative asset management firm focused on regulatory event-driven investing within financials and real estate. EJF is headquartered outside of Washington D.C., with offices in London and Shanghai; the firm manages approximately $7.6 billion (as of June 30, 2019) in assets across hedge funds, private equity, real estate funds, and separately managed accounts, in addition to approximately $3 billion in structured products. EJF’s approach combines investment expertise across the capital structure with a corporate finance focus to unearth creative investment solutions.

About Kudu Investment Management

Kudu is an independent firm specializing in providing permanent capital solutions—including generational ownership transfers, management buyouts, acquisition and growth finance, as well as liquidity for legacy partners—to asset and wealth managers. Kudu was founded in 2015 and is backed by capital partner White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd. (NYSE: WTM).

Media Contacts

For EJF:
Nathaniel Garnick/Kevin FitzGerald
Gasthalter & Co.
(212) 257-4170

For Kudu:
Sarah Lazarus
CL-Media Relations, LLC
M: +1 617-335-7823

Rich Chimberg
CL-Media Relations, LLC
M: +1 617-312-4281

Kudu Investment Management Acquires Minority Stake In Wealth Manager First Long Island Investors

NEW YORK, July 29, 2019 — Kudu Investment Management, LLC, a provider of permanent capital solutions to asset and wealth managers worldwide, has acquired a passive minority interest in Jericho, N.Y.-based First Long Island Investors, LLC which oversees approximately $1.6 billion in assets for high net worth individuals and families. Terms were not disclosed.

First Long Island was co-founded in 1983 by Robert D. Rosenthal and Ralph F. Palleschi, prominent local entrepreneurs who earlier in their careers were senior officers at both Entenmann’s national baked goods company and the Islanders pro hockey franchise. Rosenthal conceived First Long Island while working with Palleschi on the financial and investment needs of the Entenmann family. The operating and investing experience they gained from these endeavors made them attractive to similar clients – business owners, entrepreneurs, and wealthy families. They are well-known for delivering investment and wealth management services rooted in their core principles of trust, service, and performance.

“Bob and Ralph and their team have built an exceptional franchise, serving entrepreneurs and other high net worth individuals in the greater New York area. We look forward to them continuing their uniquely client-centric approach that is evident in every aspect of the relationship from asset allocation to service, communication, and more,” said Kudu CEO Rob Jakacki.

“The Kudu team really understood our service culture and entrepreneurial DNA. We were attracted to their philosophy of only investing in firms that continue to be managed and controlled entirely by their existing owners,” said Rosenthal, who is First Long Island’s chairman, CEO, and CIO. “Kudu also brings us a top-tier and growing network of partner firms and relationships we hope to leverage as we enter our next phase of growth.”

Kudu’s partners include West Coast wealth manager B|O|S; New York property fund manager Savanna; alternative asset platform TIG Advisors; real assets investor Versus Capital; and European alternative credit specialist Fair Oaks Capital. Kudu’s partners collectively manage approximately $19 billion in AUM for institutional and individual investors.

Sandler O’Neill & Partners, L.P. acted as financial advisor and Seward & Kissel LLP served as legal advisor to First Long Island Investors, LLC. Dechert LLP served as legal advisor to Kudu Investment Management, LLC.

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Asset Management Market Research Executive Quinn Keeler Joins Kudu Investment Management

NEW YORK, June 12, 2019 — Kudu Investment Management, LLC, a provider of permanent capital solutions to asset and wealth managers worldwide, today announced that Quinn Keeler has joined the firm as head of client experience, a new position.

Keeler is responsible for supporting New York-based Kudu and its partner firms with market research and data analytics.

Keeler brings more than 25 years of market research experience in the investment management industry to her new post. Most recently, she served as senior vice president for Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), where she was responsible for research and surveys for ISS and its predecessor companies, Strategic Insight and Asset International.

“Quinn has been a leader in this field for more than 20 years. We have worked together in the past and are delighted to have her expert guidance in helping Kudu and our partners expand their businesses,” said Charles Ruffel, chairman and managing partner of Kudu.

“Kudu’s model stands apart in providing managers with a patient source of capital and business  development initiatives,” Keeler said. “I’m thrilled to be part of this firm and to be working again with Charlie and his team.”

Kudu’s partner investments include minority stakes in wealth manager B/O/S; Fair Oaks Capital Ltd., an alternative credit specialist; Savanna, a real estate manager; alternative asset manager TIG Advisors; and Versus Capital Advisors, a real assets investor. Together, they manage approximately $17.5 billion for institutional and individual investors.

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Kudu Announces Minority Investment In Versus, A Leading Real Assets Fund Manager

NEW YORK, March 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Kudu Investment Management, LLC, a provider of capital solutions to the asset and wealth management industries, today announced it has made a minority investment in leading real assets investment manager Versus Capital Advisors, LLC, and affiliated entities (“Versus Capital”). Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Greenwood Village, Colorado-based Versus Capital manages approximately $4 billion for investors in two primary strategies: the Versus Capital Multi-Manager Real Estate Income Fund (VCMIX) and the Versus Capital Real Assets Fund (VCRRX), the latter of which focuses on global infrastructure, timberland and agriculture. Versus is one of the fastest growing managers using interval fund structures, a type of continuously offered closed-end fund with set redemption periods, according to a January 2019 report on Interval Fund Tracker. Versus Capital’s funds are utilized exclusively by independent registered investment advisors (RIAs), private banks, and regional consulting firms.

“Versus is an innovator in bringing less liquid, institutional-style investment exposure to retail investors, who have traditionally found it difficult to access such products,” said Kudu Chairman and Managing Partner Charlie Ruffel. “The Versus team has demonstrated a compelling vision in developing this market and has been rewarded with the embrace of both investors and financial advisors in the RIA community. We are delighted to be entering into a long-term partnership with them.”

“In order to further institutionalize our business, ensure the long-term independence of the firm, and invest more significantly in our strategies, we sought out a permanent capital partner with a perpetual structure,” said Mark Quam, CEO of Versus Capital. “After an extensive process, we found a great fit with Kudu, given its experience and specialization with asset managers and RIAs.”

Kudu will provide strategic advice as Versus Capital builds out its offerings and further expands its investor network into the RIA channel. Versus Capital management will continue to operate the business, and the Kudu investment will enable the firm’s principals to further reinvest in their own strategies. Versus Capital represents Kudu’s fifth investment since securing $250 million in new capital commitments from investors in February 2018.

Versus’ legal advisors were Winston & Strawn, LLP, and Kudu’s were Seward & Kissel, LLP.

Full article

White Mountains Boosts Capital Commitment To Kudu

NEW YORK, Feb. 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Kudu Investment Management, LLC, a leading provider of capital solutions to asset and wealth management firms, today announced that White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd. (NYSE: WTM), a Bermuda-domiciled financial services holding company, has agreed to raise its commitment to Kudu to $250 million.

White Mountains has agreed to acquire the interests previously held by funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. (“Oaktree”) and to assume Oaktree’s uncalled capital commitment.

“White Mountains is pleased with the progress made since our initial investment in Kudu last year. We are eager to augment our commitment to the Kudu team,” said Manning Rountree, CEO of White Mountains.

“White Mountains’ patient capital and ‘unlimited partners’ philosophy perfectly reflects Kudu’s own long-term approach to investments,” said Rob Jakacki, CEO of Kudu. “As such, we are delighted that White Mountains has increased its commitment to Kudu as we continue to provide flexible capital solutions to boutique managers.”

The transaction remains subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval.

Early in 2018, Kudu secured a $250 million commitment from White Mountains and Oaktree. In recent months, Kudu has made several investments in specialist asset and wealth managers. The firm:

Acquired a minority stake in London-based alternative credit manager Fair Oaks Capital Ltd., which manages approximately $2.4 billion and specializes in collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) as well as direct investment in bank loans.
Provided minority permanent capital to TIG Advisors, LLC, an alternative investment management platform overseeing approximately $3 billion in assets.

Facilitated a management buyout for San Francisco-based wealth manager Bingham, Osborn & Scarborough, LLC. Worked with Tunbridge Partners to take a minority stake in Savanna, a fund manager that owns, operates and develops real estate in the New York City area.

Full article

Kudu Invests in Leading European Alternative Credit Manager

New York and London, December 20, 2018 – Kudu Investment Management, LLC (“Kudu”), a provider of capital solutions to the asset management and wealth management industries, today announced that it has agreed to take a passive minority stake in leading London-based alternative credit manager Fair Oaks Capital Ltd., and various affiliates (“Fair Oaks”). The award-winning Fair Oaks, which manages approximately $2.4 billion, specializes in collateralized loan obligations (CLOs), investing in both US and European CLOs as well as direct investment in bank loans. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Fair Oaks was founded in 2013 by veteran alternative credit managers Miguel Ramos Fuentenebro, Roger Coyle and William Sheoris. The firm invests across the CLO capital structure, in equity and debt tranches with a focus on US and European credit. The firm also sponsors and manages CLOs. Fair Oaks was recently awarded Best Fixed Income Credit Strategy Fund 2018 by Hedgeweek, and Top Specialist Debt Fund 2018 by Citywire.

In partnering with Kudu, Fair Oaks sought to diversify its capital base, while also enabling the founders to reinvest in their strategies thereby enhancing alignment with the firm’s clients.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Fair Oaks. The extremely talented and creative leadership team has built one of the most respected independent alternative credit managers in a relatively short amount of time,” said Rob Jakacki, CEO of Kudu. “We are excited to support the firm’s ongoing growth.”

As is customary in its minority investment partnerships, Kudu will have no role in ongoing operations of Fair Oaks but will offer strategic guidance and support as the firm expands its investment offerings and its network of investors. Fair Oaks represents Kudu’s fourth investment in 2018 and its first partnership with a European manager.

Mr. Ramos Fuentenebro added “Our partnership with Kudu allows Fair Oaks to further institutionalize our business and provides access to Kudu’s insights regarding global growth opportunities, while preserving our valued independence. We anticipate that this strategic relationship with the Kudu team will strengthen Fair Oaks’ ability to provide our investors with leading investment solutions across tradable credit and private debt. After exploring a range of potential options, we believe that Kudu is the ideal fit for Fair Oaks.”

The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2019, subject to receipt of regulatory approvals.

Fair Oaks was advised by KPMG Corporate Finance, with legal representation by Travers Smith, LLP and Skadden, Arps Meagher & Flom, LLP. Kudu was represented by Seward & Kissel, LLP and Stephenson, Harwood, LLP.

Full article

Kudu Takes Stake in Alternatives Manager to Fund Growth

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–TIG Advisors, LLC (“TIG”), a leading $3 billion alternative asset management company founded in 1980, which provides capital, comprehensive infrastructure support and management to investment teams, today announced that it has acquired a minority interest in Romspen Investment Corporation (“Romspen” or the “firm”), a premier alternative credit manager focused on North American real estate. The firm is the manager of funds with assets under management of CAD $2.5 billion, which provide first mortgage bridge lending to commercial real estate projects. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

As a strategic partner, TIG will work collaboratively with Romspen to help the firm achieve its business objectives – offering infrastructure, sales and marketing, and business development support within the U.S. and internationally. This support will enable the Romspen team to continue to focus on its core competency of executing on attractive investment opportunities across real estate asset classes to generate strong returns for investors. Romspen will continue to be led by its current management team headed by Mark Hilson and Wes Roitman.

“Romspen is a leader in mortgage investing with a longstanding history, disciplined approach to underwriting, and diversified lending platform that complements TIG’s existing strategies,” said Spiros Maliagros, President of TIG. “We invested in Romspen because of their experienced executive team, acute focus on risk mitigation and strong track record of performance that is uncorrelated to public markets. We look forward to helping the firm achieve its full potential, as we believe there are significant growth opportunities for alternative lenders.”

Mr. Hilson added, “We are pleased to partner with TIG, whose expertise in alternative asset management and strong understanding of our lending strategy will be crucial in helping us reach our operational and investment goals. TIG’s 40-year track record of successfully partnering with asset managers, operating capabilities and institutional distribution network will be invaluable as we execute on our business model of originating flexible loans to align the needs of borrowers and lenders.”

In conjunction with the transaction, Kudu Investment Management, LLC, a New York-based provider of capital solutions to asset managers and wealth managers, will be providing permanent and passive capital into the TIG holding company. Kudu is providing TIG with initial growth capital to expand and diversify into new investment offerings by acquiring interests in other strategies, with Romspen being the first transaction.

Sandler O’Neill + Partners, L.P. acted as financial advisor to TIG.


Kudu Investment Helps West Coast RIA Gain Independence

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Bingham, Osborn & Scarborough, LLC (B|O|S), a leading Bay Area wealth advisory firm, announced today that it is buying back a majority ownership stake in the company from Boston Private Financial Holdings, Inc., a wealth management, trust and private banking company. After the transaction closes, B|O|S Principals and Founders will own approximately 68 percent of the company compared to their current ownership of approximately 38 percent. Kudu Investment Management, LLC, a New York-based provider of passive, long-term capital to asset and wealth management firms, will own the remaining 32 percent. The move allows B|O|S to regain its independence going forward.

“The repurchase of the company by our management aligns perfectly with our long-term vision for the firm as well as our entrepreneurial spirit,” said Managing Principal, Kevin Dorwin. “We have an extremely deep and talented team in place that is excited to move the firm forward as an independent company.”

“This exciting news reinforces our deep commitment to our clients and employees,” said Carol Benz, Managing Principal. “The transaction aligns our interests with those of our clients and positions the firm for success and growth well into the future.”

The firm’s existing Management Committee, which is comprised of current B|O|S Principals Carol Benz, Kevin Dorwin, Jennifer Ellison, Richard Golinski, and Aaron Waxman, will take over as the firm’s new Board of Managers. All Principals and employees will remain in their current roles.

“We are extremely pleased and excited to be supporting B|O|S’s transition to independent ownership,” said Kudu CEO, Rob Jakacki. “A team of B|O|S’s caliber represents the ideal partner for Kudu, which provides capital solutions to managers who value independence and significant internal ownership.”

The transaction is expected to close later in the fourth quarter of 2018 and is subject to obtaining client consents and customary closing conditions. Berkshire Global Advisors advised B|O|S and Keegin Harrison LLP served as B|O|S’s legal counsel in the transaction.

Founded in 1985, B|O|S has a strong reputation for serving the Bay Area’s wealthy families, individuals, entrepreneurs, charitable endowments and foundations. The firm focuses on doing what’s in the best interests of its clients through proactive and comprehensive financial planning advice and a long-term, disciplined approach to investing.


Kudu Invests in Real Estate Fund Manager

NEW YORK (August 16, 2018) Savanna, a New York City-based, vertically integrated real estate investment manager, owner/operator and developer, announced today that it has sold a passive, minority equity stake to TK Partners, a consortium of institutional investors led by Tunbridge Investment Partners. Tunbridge, an affiliate of real estate advisory firm Hodes Weill & Associates, focuses on making strategic, minority equity investments in real estate fund managers. TK Partners is capitalized, in part, with an investment from Kudu Investment Management, a firm that specializes in providing permanent capital solutions to leading investment managers.

Founded in 1992, Savanna has more than 30 experienced professionals, and since its inception, has invested over $4 billion across a series of investment vehicles including its flagship value-add private equity funds. Specializing in the New York City market, Savanna is an institutional fund manager with more than 80 distinct investors from around the world, including public and private pension funds, insurance companies, sovereigns, high net worth family offices, foundations, and wealth management companies.

Proceeds from the TK Partners investment were utilized to further strengthen the platform, funding working capital and various platform, investment, staffing, and growth initiatives.

Chris Schlank, Founder and Managing Partner of Savanna, said “This permanent capital investment is a significant milestone for Savanna and demonstrates the franchise value that the firm has established over its 26 years in business. This capital will enable us to continue to invest in our platform and people, and most importantly, to invest more in our existing and future investment vehicles, alongside our institutional partners.”

Nick Bienstock, Co-Managing Partner of Savanna, added, “While there will be no changes to Savanna’s strategy, investment processes or day-to-day operations, and Savanna will continue to be overseen by its founders and principals, we expect that we will be able to leverage the industry expertise and relationships of our new partners. The investor group, including Tunbridge, understands our business and is a highly strategic partner for Savanna.”

Doug Weill, Managing Partner of Hodes Weill & Associates, said, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to invest with Savanna. We have known the founders and principals of Savanna for over 20 years and have great respect for the business they have built. Their investment capabilities and track record are ‘best-in-class’ and will continue to position the firm as a partner of choice for institutions seeking access to property investments in New York City.”

David Hodes, Managing Partner of Hodes Weill & Associates, added, “Importantly, this transaction advances Tunbridge’s investment strategy and demonstrates the value that our growth capital and advisory capabilities afford real estate fund managers. We are actively evaluating additional opportunities to grow the Tunbridge platform and believe that our investment thesis is particularly compelling as global institutional investors continue to increase their allocations to real estate.”

Additional terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP served as legal counsel to Savanna. Skadden LLP served as legal counsel to Tunbridge and TK Partners.

About Savanna:

Savanna, formed in 1992, is a vertically-integrated real estate investment manager based in New York City and focused on strategic property investments throughout the City’s five boroughs. The firm, led by Managing Partners Christopher Schlank and Nicholas Bienstock, pursues real estate equity and debt asset investments, including ground-up development and major repositioning projects. Savanna’s funds target value add/opportunistic returns by adding value through asset management and/or property development, redevelopment, and repositioning, deploying a team of more than 30 experienced investment, asset management, construction, and leasing professionals. Savanna also selectively invests in real estate debt instruments that have the potential to generate equity-like returns, including preferred equity instruments, high yield bridge and mezzanine loans, and B-notes. Savanna is a Registered Investment Advisor. For more information, please visit www.savannafund.com.

About Tunbridge Investment Partners:

TK Partners was formed by Tunbridge Investment Partners to invest in the acquisition of a minority equity interest in Savanna. Tunbridge, an affiliate of advisory firm Hodes Weill & Associates, LP, is an investment platform that is focused on acquiring minority equity interests in leading real estate fund managers. Investors in TK Partners include Kudu Investment Management, LLC, a capital provider to asset management and wealth management firms. Kudu’s partners include White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd. For more information, please contact info@tunbridgepartners.com or visit www.tunbridgepartners.com. Information on Kudu can be found at www.kuduinvestment.com.


Media Contacts:

Hodes Weill & Associates

Jason Chudoba & Megan Kivlehan

Jason.Chudoba@icrinc.com | 646-277-1249

Megan.Kivlenhan@icrinc.com | 646-677-1807

Kudu Closes $250 Million Investment

NEW YORK – Kudu Investment Management, LLC (“Kudu”), a leading capital provider to asset management and wealth management firms, announced today that it has closed a $250 million investment from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. (“Oaktree”), the global alternative investment management firm, and from White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd. (NYSE: WTM) (“White Mountains”), the Bermuda-domiciled financial services holding company.

Based in New York City, Kudu specializes in providing capital solutions to asset managers and registered investment advisors, including generational ownership transfers, management buyouts, acquisition and growth finance, as well as liquidity for legacy partners. Kudu was launched in 2015 by Rob Jakacki, former Chief Investment Officer of Asset Management Finance and a pioneer in making minority investments in this sector, and Charlie Ruffel, former Chief Executive Officer of Asset International.

“Our partnership with Oaktree and White Mountains enables Kudu to pursue additional opportunities to invest in boutique firms in both traditional and alternative classes. We identify firms with focused capabilities and demonstrated value-added for their clients, where we can apply the flexible capital solutions and management alignment strategy that are the hallmark of our firm,” said Rob Jakacki, CEO of Kudu.

“Boutique asset managers are poised to benefit from many of the recent shifts in the asset management industry, including a move towards principal-owned firms that offer a sustainable value proposition,” said Charlie Ruffel, Managing Partner of Kudu. “Our opportunity is to partner with the best of those boutiques and allow them to accelerate their growth.”

Brian Laibow, Managing Director at Oaktree, said, “We’re looking forward to partnering with Kudu as they enter into their new era of growth.  We appreciate and support Kudu’s vision of investing in mid-size asset managers through minority investment constructs that allow firms to retain the independence and control that served as the foundation for their past successes, while benefiting from the new capital and expertise that Kudu brings.”

Manning Rountree, Chief Executive Officer of White Mountains, added, “We are delighted to back Rob, Charlie and the Kudu team, whose experience and capabilities are first rate, and to invest alongside Oaktree. We look forward to a fruitful partnership.”

About Oaktree

Oaktree is a leader among global investment managers specializing in alternative investments, with $100 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2017. The firm emphasizes an opportunistic, value-oriented and risk-controlled approach to investments in distressed debt, corporate debt (including high yield debt and senior loans), control investing, convertible securities, real estate and listed equities. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the firm has over 900 employees and offices in 18 cities worldwide. For additional information, please visit Oaktree’s website at http://www.oaktreecapital.com/.

About White Mountains

White Mountains is a Bermuda-domiciled financial services holding company traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the Bermuda Stock Exchange under the symbol WTM. Additional financial information and other items of interest are available at the Company’s web site located at www.whitemountains.com.