Instar hires Wynnchurch veteran Morty White as second managing partner

Instar, founded in 2014 by Greg Smith, ex-head of Brookfield Financial’s global infrastructure advisory group, last year closed a second flagship fund at $1.2bn.

Instar Asset Management, a recently rebranded mid-market infrastructure investment firm, hired a 12-year Wynnchurch Capital executive for its leadership team.

Morty White was recruited this month, becoming Instar’s second managing partner. His duties include deal origination and execution as well as investment management, according to a statement.

White, who joined Wynnchurch in 2008, was a managing director when he left last year, Buyouts reported. He led several investments, among them Carson Air, a fixed-wing air ambulance services provider, sold this summer by Wynnchurch to Exchange Income Corp.

White’s prior experience includes seven years at GE Capital, where he was a vice president in the technology, media and communications group. He also helped launch GE Capital’s merchant banking division and a private equity group.

Instar was founded in 2014 by president and CEO Greg Smith, formerly the head of Brookfield Financial’s global infrastructure advisory group. It began as InstarAGF Asset Management, a joint venture between Instar Group and AGF Management, closing a debut fund in 2017.

InstarAGF earlier in 2021 rebranded as Instar, taking charge of Fund I as well as a second flagship vehicle closed last year at $1.2 billion, ahead of a $1 billion target.

Instar invests in North American infrastructure and real-assets sectors, targeting mid-market opportunities with an enterprise value of $100 million to $1 billion. Since 2014, it has backed 11 businesses focused on energy transition, mobility, connectivity and agricultural infrastructure.

One of the firm’s best-known investments is Nieuport Aviation, owner and operator of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport’s passenger terminal. Acquired in 2015 alongside Partners Group and other investors, Instar two years ago sold its stake to JP Morgan Asset Management.

Instar has been an active dealmaker this year, acquiring LS Networks, a fiber-optic bandwidth infrastructure services provider, and PRT Growing Services, a reforestation logistics provider. It also sold Okanagan Wind, a developer and operator of wind power facilities.

With offices in Toronto and Denver, Instar has a team of 35. Along with Smith and White, senior members include managing partner George So and partners Jonathan Stone, Jack Bittan and Stephen Simpson.