TA Associates

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TA Associates
Limited Partnership
Industry Private Equity
Founded 1968
Headquarters John Hancock Tower
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Key people
Brian J. Conway, Chairman
Products Growth capital, Leveraged buyouts, Recapitalizations]]
Total assets $18 billion[1]
Number of employees
130+
Website www.ta.com

TA Associates, founded in 1968, is one of early modern-era private equity firms in the United States.[2] The firm leads buyouts and minority recapitalizations of profitable growth companies. TA Associates has invested across a range of industries, including technology, healthcare, consumer products, financial services and business services.

TA Associates has raised $18 billion of capital since inception.[3] Since its founding, the firm has been a lead investor and director in more than 440 companies, and been ranked among the 50 largest private equity firms (ranked 41 in 2014) globally.[4]

The firm is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. As of January 1, 2015, TA had more than 130 employees, including 80 investment professionals in Boston, Menlo Park, London, Mumbai and Hong Kong.

History[edit]

TA Associates was founded in 1968 by Peter Brooke with the backing of his former firm, Tucker, Anthony & RL Day, an investment banking and brokerage firm. Prior to founding TA, from 1963 to 1968, Brooke had headed the corporate finance and venture capital activities of Tucker Anthony. Previously, Brooke had been responsible for expanding the private equity activities of Bessemer Securities and had founded the High Technology Lending Group of First National Bank of Boston. At the time it was founded, the firm focused primarily on making venture capital investments in earlier stage companies.

The firm expanded significantly through the 1970s growing from $5 million of capital in 1969 to $125 million by the beginning of the 1980s, making TA the largest independent venture capital firm in a 1980 ranking.[5] Through the 1970s, the firm's investments averaged 30% to 40% annually. Among the firm's notable investments of the 1970s were Biogen, Artificial Intelligence Software, Immunogen and Digital Research[5]

As the 1980s developed, TA found itself increasingly investing larger amounts in more mature, profitable companies as opposed to the small early stage investments in start-up companies that had characterized the firm's first decade and a half. By the mid-1980s, TA was no longer describing itself as a "venture capital firm", instead using the more general "private equity" description. By the early 1990s, the firm found itself rarely investing in early stage start-up companies, focusing primarily on later-stage growth capital investments in more mature businesses.[6]

Much of this evolution from a regional venture capital investor to global growth private equity firm has been credited to C. Kevin Landry.[7] Mr. Landry began his career with TA in 1968, became a General Partner in 1972, Managing Partner in 1982, CEO in 1984 upon the firm's incorporation, and Chairman in 2007. After retiring in 2012, he remained actively involved in the firm and was serving as a Senior Advisor at the time of his death in 2013.

In 2012, certain members of TA Associates leadership, independent of the firm, began financially supporting various conservative political action groups backing candidates in favor of repealing the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act publicly claiming it was "government regulation run amok."[8] Mr. Landry was among of the leading Super PAC donors to the 2012 Mitt Romney presidential campaign.[9] Landry told the Boston Globe the Dodd-Frank legislation costs TA more than $600,000 a year in compliance-related costs which would be better spent supporting job growth fueled by private equity firms such as Bain Capital and TA Associates.[10]

Spin-out firms[edit]

As one of the earliest venture capital firms, there are many successful investment firms that trace their lineage back to TA Associates.[11]

In 1979, TA's Craig Burr and William P. Egan left to found venture capital firm, Burr, Egan, Deleage & Co. BEDCO would itself give rise to a group of notable successor firms Alta Partners, Alta Communications and Polaris Venture Partners, which can trace their lineage to TA.

In 1984, TA's founder Peter Brooke founded Advent International which is today among the largest global private equity firms. Also in 1984, Stephen Woodsum and E. Roe Stamps decided to leave TA to form Summit Partners. Two years later, in 1986, the firm's media group, led by David Croll, completed a spin-out to form Media/Communications Partners, which would later rename itself M/C Partners.

In 1994, General Partner Bill Collatos left to found private equity firm, Spectrum Equity Investors. In 1994 SASI's was sold to TA Associates. The new owners took SASI’s leading software, called ANSYS®, as their flagship product and designated ANSYS, Inc. as the new company name.

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