The Salt Lake City-based shop founded late last year by billionaire industrialist Jon Huntsman Sr. and former
In its lawsuit, filed in federal court in Florida, H.I.G. Capital contends that target companies and service providers run the risk of confusing the two LBO shops, especially because both specialize in mid-market acquisitions. The Miami shop claims that it has “invested millions of dollars in promotion and advertising” of the H.I.G. Capital name since forming the firm in 1993.
The suit has precedent: H.I.G. Capital forced European firm
The suit has a precedent in another way, too. This isn’t the first time a new firm has come perilously close to copying the name of an existing shop, only to feel the legal consequences. Last year, for instance, venture shop Union Square Ventures sued Union Square Partners after the LBO firm changed its name from Capital Z Financial Services; the two parties eventually settled out of court, and both retain the Union Square parts of their names.
In March, H.I.G. Capital sent a letter to H&G Capital demanding that the firm change its name, according to the suit. After not receiving what it considered a satisfactory response, the Miami firm filed its suit, hoping to prevent H&G Capital from using that name in sponsorship material at the gigantic ACG Intergrowth conference in Orlando earlier this month. A judge denied that injunction.
Neither H.I.G. Capital nor H&G Capital responded to requests for comment.
Aside from Huntsman and Gay, H&G Capital counts a number of heavyweights among its managing directors. Those include former Bain Capital pro Ron Mika and former football pro Steve Young. Young and Mika most recently worked for