‘Goldfinger’ launches buyout fund

Mount Kellett Capital Management, a private equity firm run by former Goldman Sachs Partner Mark McGoldrick, has raised at least $1.5 billion, according to several sources.

McGoldrick—known as “Goldfinger”—launched the fund last year with plans to raise about $5 billion, but his lofty efforts were slowed by the market meltdown, sources said.

Calls to McGoldrick’s office in New York were not returned. Brad Landes, Mount Kellett’s managing director and deputy head of Asia, said that the firm does not speak to the press.

McGoldrick earned his nickname while at Goldman Sachs, where as co-head of its global special situations group, he was reportedly paid between $40 million and $70 million in 2006.

He left Goldman Sachs in 2007, but the Wall Street bank helped Mount Kellett raise funding, sources said.

The multi-strategy fund, which is named after a mountain in Hong Kong, has attracted several Goldman Sachs veterans to its staff. It also has an office in Mumbai and one source said that the firm plans to open another locale in Beijing.

Though $1.5 billion is considered by most to be a good amount to launch in this market, one person familiar with the matter said Mount Kellett plans to raise additional funding.

Meanwhile, the firm is looking for companies in good financial shape and of substantial size, and is targeting deals in the $100 million range. A fund manager in Asia with knowledge of Mount Kellett said that the firm was seeking investment opportunities across industries.

“They are aggressively looking for deals,” the source said.

Numerous bankers have left Wall Street to launch private equity and hedge funds, although the harsh current climate makes fund-raising a challenge. Merrill Lynch’s former Asia investment banking chief, Sheldon Trainor, recently left the bank to launch a private equity fund, but he will continue to serve as an advisor to Merrill’s new owner, Bank of America, a source familiar with the matter said last week. —Tony Munroe and George Chen, Reuters