Evercore Heads To the Coast –

Evercore Partners Inc., a New York-based boutique firm that makes private equity investments and offers financial advisory services, is now bi-coastal with the opening of an office in California. The firm is also expanding its business by kicking off a new advisory division that will focus on restructuring and bankruptcy, while moving forward with plans to increase its venture capital investing.

The firm this month opened the doors to its new Santa Monica office, which will conduct all manners of Evercore’s business and will house the firm’s president, Austin Beutner, as well as some new professionals. Currently, the firm has no plans to open any additional offices.

Among the professionals to join Evercore’s Santa Monica team is Giffen Ott, who is spending his time on the buyout side of Evercore’s business. Prior to joining Evercore Capital Partners as a senior managing director, Ott was a senior leader of an AEA Investors portfolio company and was a senior professsional at Bain Capital prior to that.

Evercore’s increasing attention on venture capital stepped up the long-standing plans to open a West Coast office. Evercore, which allied with SOFTBANK in order to merge the firm’s Old Economy relationships with SOFTBANK’s New Economy expertise in the way of several buyout firms, late last year struck a similar deal with eCompanies, a venture capital business and incubator based in Santa Monica. The joint venture formed eCompanies-Evercore Venture Management (E2VM), which acts as a general partner for a VC fund the two raised. Sky Dayton and Jake Winebaum, the founders of eCompanies, serve as partners in Evercore’s venture business.

Reaching Out

Anthony Grillo is also fresh on the Evercore roster, but in the New York office. He joined the New York team to build and head up advisory services in the restructuring and bankruptcy area. Grillo joins Evercore from his role as a partner at Joseph, Littlejohn & Levy. Grillo was a partner alongside Evercore partners Beutner and Roger Altman earlier in their careers at The Blackstone Group. There he was a key player in establishing Blackstone’s advisory restructuring business.

“Tony is just a real talent, one of the few deans in the industry,” said Beutner. “Roger and I worked closely with him at Blackstone, so we’re quite happy to partner with a guy we know well, trust and hold in such high regard.”

The ability to attract Grillo to the effort was one reason Evercore decided to form a restucturing advisory business, said Beutner. Additionally, Beutner said he believes that a boutique firm, such as Evercore, is advantaged in such an area.

“We have no conflicts and in general the clients are looking for senior objective advice,” he said.

Beutner also said the firm thinks it is a good time to move into this business, so the restructuring advisory is a bit opportunistic.

“And last but maybe most important, it is consistent with our strategy because it helps extend our network,” Beutner said. “So it’s just more people, more knowledge of what is going on in the marketplace, and hopefully we can provide that knowledge on behalf of our clients in all our activities, but also use it to make smarter investments.”