James Freedman, Michael Rosenberg and Eduard Bagdasarian, the trio who built boutique bank Barrington Associates and then sold it to Wells Fargo & Co., are nearly two years into their latest venture, Los Angeles-based Intrepid Investment Bankers LLC. And they're hoping to achieve the same growth at Intrepid that they experienced at Barrington. To that end, they just added three managing directors to Intrepid's consumer sector business: Brien Rowe, 51, the co-founder of Los Angeles-based Sage Group LLC; Marvin Padilla, 36, also from Sage; and Philippe Faraut, 43, formerly head of Financo Inc.'s West Coast office.
"Apparel, footwear and retail have been quite active for the last few years," says Rowe. "There is so much private equity demand for branded consumer opportunities."
The new hires bring Intrepid's staff up to 20 bankers. The firm, which was founded in June 2010, focuses on M&A and capital markets transactions ranging from $20 million to $1 billion. "There are 20 transactions in our pipeline now," says Rosenberg, Intrepid's CEO, adding that he expects the company to double its revenue this year. Recent assignments include advising asset-based lender Celtic Capital Corp., a portfolio company of Pine Tree Equity Management LP, on its April sale to PacWest Bancorp for an undisclosed price, and Autosplice Inc., a manufacturer of electrical equipment, on its sale to J.H. Whitney Capital Partners LLC for an undisclosed sum in August.
Intrepid's three founders have worked together since their days at Barrington, which Freedman founded in 1982. They sold Barrington, which at the time had 40 bankers in three offices, to Wells Fargo in 2006, remaining on board to run the business and help integrate it into its much larger owner. Barrington retained its name, and Rosenberg remained its CEO until 2009, when Wells Fargo bought Wachovia Corp. Barrington was eventually folded into Wells Fargo Securities LLC's middle-market group, and Freedman, Rosenberg and Bagdasarian departed to launch Intrepid.
Rosenberg, 52, specializes in the consumer and industrial sectors, while Freedman, 59, is Intrepid's chairman and has worked on a mix of consumer and healthcare deals. Bagdasarian, 47, focuses largely on healthcare. Their new recruits bring branded consumer expertise to Intrepid's mix. In addition to co-founding the 12-year-old Sage Group, Rowe headed its lifestyle brands practice, while Padilla focused on personal care, automotive and packaging. Faraut specialized in apparel, accessories and retail while at Financo. Their clients included handbag designer Big Buddha Inc., which was sold to Steve Madden Ltd. for $11 million in 2010; fashion designer Moda Nicola International LLC, acquired by Jones Group Inc. for $28 million in 2010; and clothing designer Big Strike Inc., now owned by private equity firm Gores Group LLC.
Satisfied with Intrepid's newly expanded consumer coverage, Rosenberg's next order of business is to add bankers with expertise in healthcare services and digital media. But will Intrepid grow to be the next Barrington? Rosenberg says the firm has expanded faster than he had initially expected. "I don't know why we wouldn't get there again," he says.