New Nashville private equity firm forms after spin out from Star Investment Holdings

New Nashville private equity firm forms after spin out from Star Investment Holdings

Nashville has a new private equity giant.

The team from Whistler Capital Partners LLC has completed a spin out from Starr Investment Holdings LLC, Managing Partner Geoff Clark said, forming a new private equity firm in Nashville.

Whistler is taking with it more than $1 billion of assets under management, Clark said.

The spinout comes after a nearly 15-year career for Clark at Starr Investment Holdings, which was a subsidiary of New York City-based C.V. Starr & Co. Inc. led by Chairman and CEO Maurice “Hank” Greenberg — the former chairman and CEO of American International Group, better known as AIG.

In 2019, Clark moved Starr Investment Holdings’ senior leadership and health care team to Nashville, bringing with it deep pockets and a major boost to Nashville’s private equity landscape. The firm provided growth equity and leveraged buyouts, with investments ranging from $25 million to $1.5 billion.

Clark said Whistler will focus on similar deals in the health care space, but that the split will allow the firm to expand and raise its own fund, while increasing the frequency of deals.

“This is about growing the business,” Clark said. “We have expected for a while that there would be a natural point and time, given our specialization in health care, to go out and raise a fund. As part of raising a fund, investors like to see independent general partners.”

Clarke said the firm is aiming to raise the fund next year but did not disclose a targeted amount.

As part of the spin out, former Goldman Sachs partner Eric Dobkin — dubbed the “Father of the Modern IPO” for his work in the firm’s capital markets division, according to a New York Times report — has been named Whistler’s chairman.

Whistler, which currently has eight employees, expects as many as two individuals from New York to join the company in Nashville, Clark said, while he expects to hire a “handful” of local people in the coming months for Whistler’s investment and operating teams. The firm is moving into a new 8,000-square-foot space at the new Sylvan Supply office on Charlotte Avenue on Nov. 1.

“Building out the operating team that has been our goal since being here in Nashville. There is so much amazing talent, and it is such an amazing health care town,” Clark said.

While not associated with C.V. Starr & Co. Inc., Whistler still has business relationships with Starr Investment Holdings’ former parent company. For example: C.V. Starr & Co. Inc. will retain its interest El Segundo, California-based Radiology Partners, in which Starr Investment Holdings made a $700 million investment in 2019, but Whistler has become the managing partner of that investment.

“[The spin out] has been a really constructive, supportive process with [C.V. Starr & Co. Inc.],” Clark said. “I am immensely grateful for the years that I spent there and have just enormous respect for Hank Greenberg … and look forward to continuing to work with [Starr] in this format.”

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