Center Rock, formed by ex-Wynnchurch execs, preps debut fund

  • Center Rock could try to raise $500 mln or more
  • Firm formed by two ex-Wynnchurch partners
  • Targets industrial companies in North America

Center Rock Capital Partners, formed by ex-Wynnchurch Capital executives, is in market with its debut fund, two people with knowledge of the firm said.

The target of Fund I is not clear. Two sources said the firm could try and raise $500 million or more.

Center Rock formed last year, commencing operations in August, according to the firm’s Form ADV. It is led by Partners Ian Kirson and Terry Theodore and Chief Financial Officer John Newman. Theodore joined the firm after it was launched by Kirson, according to Center Rock statements at the time.

Kirson and Theodore did not return requests for comment Monday.

Center Rock looks for North American companies in industrial manufacturing and services across numerous sectors with revenue of $25 million and $500 million.

The firm hired David Matthews as a principal in October. Matthews worked at Wynnchurch from 2012 to 2016, according to a statement.

Kirson and Theodore were partners at Wynnchurch, the Chicago middle-market firm.

Theodore joined Wynnchurch in 2005, prior to which he was a managing director at Questor Management Co for five years and a principal at Kidd, Kamm & Co for 10 years, his biography on an archived version of the firm’s website shows.

Kirson joined in 2004, prior to which he worked at Crossroads Capital Partners. Previously, he worked at Willis Stein & Partners and Goldman Sachs and was an attorney in the private equity group at Kirkland & Ellis.

Wynnchurch closed its most recent pool, Wynnchurch Capital Partners IV, on $1.2 billion in 2014.

Wynnchurch was formed in 1999 by Richard Renaud and John Hatherly. Prior to Wynnchurch, Hatherly led the merchant banking group at GE Capital, while Renaud was a managing partner at Dundee Bancorp’s merchant banking unit, a due-diligence report from Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System says.

Key men in Fund IV were Hatherly, Managing Partner Frank Hayes and Theodore. A key-man provision would be triggered only with the departure of two of the key men, the LACERS report says.

Action Item: Read Center Rock’s Form ADV here:

Photo of Ian Kirson sourced from Center Rock’s website