Irving Place Capital

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Irving Place Capital
Formerly called
Bear Stearns Merchant Banking (1997-2008)
Industry Private equity
Predecessors Bear Stearns Merchant Banking
Founded 1997; 20 years ago (1997)
Founder John D. Howard[1]
Headquarters 277 Park Avenue, New York, New York, United States[2]
Products Leveraged buyout, Growth capital
Total assets $4.4 billion
Number of employees

Irving Place Capital, formerly known as Bear Stearns Merchant Banking (BSMB), is an American private equity firm focused on leveraged buyout and growth capital investments in middle-market companies across a range of industries.[2]

The firm's predecessor Bear Stearns Merchant Banking was founded in 1997 by John D. Howard, formerly a co-founder of Vestar Capital Partners. The group completed its separation from Bear Stearns' owner JPMorgan Chase in 2008.

Irving Place Capital is based in New York City its predecessor had raised approximately $4.4 billion since inception across three Bear Stearns Merchant Banking funds.


Since inception, Irving Place Capital and its predecessor, Bear Stearns Merchant Banking has made a number of investments in notable companies in the retail, restaurants, consumer products, healthcare, energy, financial and business services, and industrial sectors. Among the firm's most notable investments are the following (separated by the private equity fund from which the investment was made:


1997 - 2008[edit]

In 1997, John D. Howard was hired by Bear Stearns to launch a new private equity and merchant banking effort for the investment bank. Prior to joining Bear Stearns, Howard had been senior vice president of Wesray Capital Corporation and later co-founded Vestar Capital Partners in 1988. In 1998, Bear Stearns Merchant Banking raised its first fund with $200 million of investor commitments. Bear Stearns had been one of the pioneers of private equity investing in the 1960s and 1970s, when Jerome Kohlberg and later protégés Henry Kravis and George Roberts completed a series of what they described as "bootstrap" investments beginning in 1964-65 before leaving the bank to found Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in 1976.

In 2001, Bear Stearns Merchant Banking completed fundraising for its second fund with $1.5 billion of investor commitments including a $500 million commitment from Bear Stearns.[12] The fundraising effort had begun 18 months earlier in 1999.[13]

Bear Stearns Merchant Banking launched Bear Growth Capital Partners in 2003 to target smaller companies that fell below the investment parameters it had set for its main fund. Bear Growth Capital Partners made its investments from capital provided by Bear Stearns rather than an independent fund or drawing from BSMB's fund.[14][15] Also in 2003, BSMB provided capital to a joint venture with Rudolph Giuliani's private equity firm, Giuliani Capital Partners to make investments in the security sector.[16][17]

In 2006, Bear Stearns Merchant Banking raised its third fund with $2.7 billion of investor commitments.[18][19]

The collapse of Bear Stearns in 2008[edit]

BSMB logo in use prior to the firm's rebranding as Irving Place Capital

In March 2008, Bear Stearns, BSMB's parent, faced what was repored to be a potential liquidity crisis. Through the intervention of the Federal Reserve and other US Government agencies, Bear Stearns agreed to a sale of the company to JPMorgan Chase on March 24, 2008, which was completed on May 30, 2008. Following the closing of this transaction, Bear Stearns Merchant Banking became a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase. In March 2008, when the meltdown of Bear Stearns began, the firm dropped the Bear Sterns Merchant Banking moniker and began calling itself BSMB to distance itself from the failed investment bank.[20][21][22]

In June 2008, it was announced BSMB would spin out of J.P. Morgan.[23] The bank already had its own private equity investment group One Equity Partners, which had been acquired in the 2004 acquisition of Bank One. JPMorgan Chase had already decided to keep the One Equity Partners group over JPMorgan Partners (today CCMP Capital), the legacy private equity investment group that had come from Chase Manhattan Bank in the 2000 merger. was once again designated the exclusive private equity arm for the combined firm. As a result, it was clear that Bear Stearns Merchant Banking was not going to remain within the bank.[24][25]

The Bear Stearns Merchant Banking team was one of several private equity groups within Bear Stearns Asset Management that was acquired by JPMorgan Chase. Other groups included:

  • Bear Growth Capital Partners, a growth capital investment group founded in 2003 with a $375 million commitment from Bear Stearns.[22][26] J.P. Morgan hired CCMP Capital to manage the legacy fund[27]
  • Bear Stearns Private Equity Ltd., renamed J.P. Morgan Private Equity Limited (LSEJPEL), a publicly traded private equity vehicle making fund of funds and secondary investments[28]
  • Bear Stearns Health Innoventures, a venture capital fund established to invest in early- to mid-stage health care focused companies with a focus on the biotechnology sector[29]
  • Constellation Ventures a venture capital group, founded in 1998, making investments in the media, communications, software and services sectors[30] Constellation, which was rebranded Constellation Growth Capital in May 2009, was spun out and subsequently entered into a joint venture with Highbridge Capital Management.[31]

On November 1, 2008, Bear Stearns Merchant Banking completed a spin out from JPMorgan Chase to become Irving Place Capital.[20][32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Howitt, David M. (2014). "Praise for Heed Your Call". Heed Your Call. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1476767147. 
  2. ^ a b Directory of Venture Capital & Private Equity. BoogarLists. 2010. p. 171 – via Google Books. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Bear Stearns Tries on Shoes. Business Week, June 29, 2005
  5. ^ Bear, Stearns Unit Is Said To Buy Vitamin Shoppe. New York Times'', December 2, 2002.
  6. ^ Bear Stearns Merchant Banking Announces Acquisition of PlayCore Holdings Market Wire, February, 2007]
  7. ^ MC Shipping Inc. Shareholders Approve Merger with Affiliate of Bear Stearns Merchant Banking. Business Wire, September 05, 2007
  8. ^ Universal Hospital Services, Inc. Completes Acquisition by Bear Stearns Merchant Banking. Business Wire, June 4, 2007
  9. ^ Irving Place Capital acquires women's apparel retailer Dots. Crain's Cleveland Business, January 4, 2011
  10. ^ Irving Place, Oaktree Buy Chesapeake. May 05, 2009
  11. ^ Irving Place to Buy Thermadyne for $200 Million. New York Times, October 6, 2010
  12. ^ Bear Stearns closes $1.5 billion investment fund. National Real Estate Investor, May 2, 2001
  13. ^ A Bear Stearns Banking Fund. New York Times, November 5, 1999
  14. ^ Bear Stearns Merchant Banking Launches "Bear Growth Capital Partners". Business Wire, August 7, 2003
  15. ^ Lattanzio to lead new Bear Stearns middle-market private equity group Archived 2008-11-20 at the Wayback Machine.. AltAssets, August 8, 2003
  16. ^ US Bear Stearns to launch private equity fund with Rudolph Giuliani Archived 2004-11-01 at the Wayback Machine.. AltAssets, July 31, 2003
  17. ^ '08 Candidacy Could Shake Up Giuliani's Firm. New York Times, January 7, 2007
  18. ^ BSMB closes latest fund on $2.7bn Archived 2006-10-16 at the Wayback Machine.. AltAssets, August 3, 2006
  19. ^ Recommendation for Investment in Bear Stearns Merchant Banking Partners III, L.P.. PSERS Private Equity Investment Program
  20. ^ a b BSMB is Now Irving Place. Private Equity Professional Digest, October 29, 2008
  21. ^ Bear Stearns Merchant Banking: Bloodied, not destroyed[permanent dead link]. The Deal, March 20, 2008
  22. ^ a b Bear Merchant Banking Continues To Do Deals[permanent dead link]. Reuters Buyouts, March 31, 2008
  23. ^ Bear Buyout Arm Ready to Fly Solo: BSMB to Split Off In Tale of Survival; First Up: New Name. Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2008
  24. ^ What Happens to Bear Stearns Merchant Banking arm. Wall Street Journal: Deal Journal, March 18, 2008
  25. ^ What now for Bear Stearns' PE, VC affiliates? Archived 2009-06-14 at the Wayback Machine.. The Deal, March 17, 2008
  26. ^ Growth Capital Partners’ Paul Lattanzio finds gold in hidden places — and isn’t afraid to hold onto it[dead link]. Dealmaker May/June 2007 , Page 62
  27. ^ PE Week Wire: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 Archived March 19, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.. Reuters, December 16, 2008
  28. ^ Bear Stearns Private Equity Limited Changes Name to J.P. Morgan Private Equity Limited. Press Release. J.P. Morgan Private Equity Limited (company website)
  29. ^ Bear Stearns Health Innoventures Closes $212 Million Fund Archived 2009-03-19 at the Wayback Machine.. Business Wire, April 26, 2001
  30. ^ Constellation Ventures Archived 2009-05-25 at the Wayback Machine. (company website)
  31. ^ New Life, New Fund for Constellation Ventures. PE Hub, May 5, 2009
  32. ^ Bear Stearns Merchant Banking rebrands . Private Equity Online, October 28, 2008

External links[edit]