No, the founders of Arsenal Capital Partners are not avid gun enthusiasts. And no, naming the firm Arsenal was not an intimidation tactic to dissuade other PE firms from competing with them. In fact, the name was never even intended to see the light of day.
“Arsenal was a code name we had for the firm while we were in the formation period in 2000,” says Terry Mullen, a managing director at the firm. “Our intention was to create a lower-middle-market firm that participates in industry-focused buyouts where we saw potential for growth and profitability.”
At its core, the firm was slated to have a variety of high impact, in-house capabilities—such as expertise in research, sales and marketing; procurement and supply chain strategies; human capital and IT systems—that it could use to exploit that potential.
“While we were brainstorming about the collection of ‘tools’ and ‘weapons’ that we’d need to complete our mission, our vice president, Jeffrey Kovach (now a managing director), jokingly came up with Arsenal as an alias for the firm. He even started putting pictures of tanks and missile launchers and cannons on the covers of some of our internal documents,” Mullen says.
“Yes, it does sound a little aggressive and we’d thought about changing the name to a number of other things, but nothing worked quite like Arsenal; and on top of that, it’s an A-name, which doesn’t hurt,” he adds.
Arsenal portfolio companies include Priority Solutions International, a specialty distributor serving the pharmaceutical industry, and Interdynamics Inc., a manufacturer of niche products for the automotive aftermarket. Since its founding in 2000, the New York-based firm has completed the investment cycle for its $300 million first fund and is expecting to close a $500 million follow-up vehicle by the end of the year, having so far closed on about $335 million in commitments. The initial target on Arsenal Capital Partners II LP was $400 million.