Talked to people there and people that've left. Sounds like they are early in their lifecycle and it's led to some folks getting spread thin given their very broad mandate. Seem to be aggressively interviewing and hiring. From what I've heard the partners have strong performance, but time will tell as they step outside of the Lone Star name and size. 

What has been your initial experience?

 

Gathered similar thoughts from your comments, lots of "Lone Star" referencing, no defined investment strategy, inherently no dedicated funds. They worded their approach as a "flexible mandate", but seems to me they are throwing darts across any opportunity that comes there way. Consequently, it doesn't sound like the responsibilities and focus for their roles have much distinction on asset types either. They told me they are looking for a best-all-around athlete. Kind of weird. But you know, lone star actually didn't bifurcate their real asset and corporate funds when they started either. Maybe they are trailing that.

 

To your last point, I've heard they're essentially looking to replicate the Lone Star structure, but likely without the "king of the castle" culture Lone Star is known for with the founder. I haven't gone through their announced deals, but I'm guessing the scarcity in distress opportunities the past years are a contributor to it looking like the random dart throwing you mention. Heard through the grapevine they've deployed a decent chunk of the Fund I that closed last summer so they may go back to fundraising soonish, but didn't hear that from a direct source. 

I just looked at their site and they have separate postings for Associate and Real Estate Associate so looks like they're building out more specialized subgroups. 

 

Wouldn't be my top choice. Pretty tough culture, and they've had an abysmal fundraise (like targeting north of $1B for Fund I and landing at like $400M). 

Feels like they're trying to replicate Lone Star's corporate PE / REPE mix, but with a much smaller team and fund (actually, feels like they want to replicate a lot about Lone Star... right down to the cutthroat-ness).

If you need an associate role and / or really want to do distressed PE in Dallas, then it's probably fine, but given options I'd probably look elsewhere

 
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Unlike what others have mentioned, it is definitely a legitimate firm started by the former head of US investing at Lone Star. Because of that, they’ve tried to replicate the same distressed approach across PE and RE with a more reasonable culture and chosen to stay relatively under the radar. With that being said, hours will likely be a grind (which I’ve seen with pretty much all distressed firms in TX) and they got out over their skis trying to raise a $1B 1st time fund a few years back. Have spoken with a few members of their team and knew others that spun out of lone star as well and they all came across as pretty sharp. I can see their style not being for everyone and if you’re looking for a more defined and focused strategy I’d look elsewhere. Trive is a quality firm I’d take a look at but have heard that hours there are just as bad.

 

I know the firm decently well. They tried raising a $1bn fund and only got in $400mm. They tried about 6-9 months ago to do a GP-led deal at a valuation around 20x higher than where they bought the company a mere two years ago. The valuation methodology was bogus. They bought some junker business for 3x EBITDA, did a few micro acquisitions to to get EBITDA above a certain threshold and then slapped a 12x training multiple on it and pumped it full of leverage. When buyers were doing work they could see the business had next to no organic growth in Rev or EBITDA, they effectively just bought super cheap, did some m&a to gain scale and slapped a larger trading multiple on it. The business was hairy and in an out of demand sector. They deal didn't end up getting done.

After speaking with a few groups in Texas they didn't think they had a good reputation.

 

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