Lafayette Nabs Wyndham –

In a move that cements its entry into travel-related management services, the $107.5 million Lafayette Investment Fund (LIF) has acquired all of the assets and operations of Wyndham Jade from Wyndham Travel Holdings Inc. for an undisclosed amount.

Wyndham Jade is a $170 million provider of corporate travel management, incentive meeting, event services, and convention housing and registration services to business customers.

Lenore Sullivan, a vice president with LIF’s parent, Hunt Financial Corp., said her firm seeks to invest in Old Economy manufacturing companies. “Wyndham Jade is a good platform for us,” she added. “It has a solid base of operations and good management team. We’re looking at possible acquisition opportunities, particularly in the incentive services and corporate travel management areas.”

LIF invests equity in companies with a proven business model seeking capital to support their continued growth or to help finance a buyout or recapitalization, according to company literature. Sullivan said her firm prefers to take a majority stake when investing, and on average invests $8 million to $10 million in a portfolio company, though it will invest as much as $15 million.

The fund has invested in four companies to date. Aside from Wyndham Jade, these are Hospitality Mints LLC, a manufacturer of mint candies; Cellotape Inc., a manufacturer of pressure-sensitive labels and nameplates for the telecommunications and electronic equipment industry; and Neoworld Holdings LLC, a provider of wireless communications services.

Sue Trizila will remain president and CEO of Wyndham Jade. Trizila said the acquisition gives her company “a foundation of resources for acquisitions, new products and services and IT development.” And LIF’s management team “gives a lot of support for a company like ours, from strategizing to carry through,” she said.

Trizila said she expects Wyndham Jade to grow most aggressively in the convention and incentive division, nationwide and internationally, she said, while the corporate travel area will remain regional.

The two-year-old LIF is managed by Dallas-based Hunt Financial Corp., a private equity firm and subsidiary of Hunt Consolidated Inc., a company owned by Ray L. Hunt. Other companies affiliated with Hunt Financial are: Hunt Oil Co., a 65-year-old independent energy company with worldwide petroleum operations; Hunt Realty Corp., an opportunistic real estate investor with activities in land development, hotels and resorts, single and multi-family housing, commercial, industrial and other segments of the real estate industry; and Hunt Power Corp., which specializes in project development and provides utility-related consulting services to other Hunt entities and, on a selective basis, to third parties. Hunt Ventures L.P. was established in 1998, and invests in technology-driven opportunities that are outside of the oil, gas and real estate sectors, and that are distinct from the investment strategy of Hunt Financial Corp.