Lehman PE spinout nears deal on MicroStar Logic

Trilantic Capital Partners is close to inking its first platform acquisition since spinning out of Lehman Brothers Merchant Banking last year.

Executives at the New York-based shop expect to buy MicroStar Logistics, a company that helps breweries manage their kegs, from Macquarie Group Ltd., according to a regulatory filing and two sources with knowledge of the deal.

The firm was close to sealing up the deal by the end of last week, the sources said. Equity for the investment will come from Trilantic Capital Partners IV, according to the filing. The firm closed the $3.3 billion fund in June 2007; about $1.7 billion of the pool was still available at the time Trilantic Capital spun out of Lehman Brothers.

Greenwood Village, Colo.-based MicroStar provides a management system that delivers and picks up kegs, while repairing and maintaining them. The company works with more than 1,600 beer wholesalers in all 50 states and in Europe, according to its website. Macquarie bought the company in February 2008.

The deal would mark the first platform acquisition for Trilantic Capital since the firm’s management, along with Reinet Investments SCA, a Luxembourg-based investment firm, acquired the buyout shop in April 2009.

Trilantic Capital is managed by Charles Ayres, the former managing director and head of global merchant banking for Lehman Brothers, along with founding partners E. Daniel James, Joseph Cohen, Vittorio Pignatti-Morano and Javier Banon. The firm employs 21 investment professionals, with 11 devoted to North America, nine devoted to Europe, and Ayres working as global chairman.

The firm’s last significant deal was in October 2008, when it bought a 40% stake in SRAM Corp., a Chicago based designer and maker of bicycle components, according to market researcher Capital IQ.

The Trilantic Capital team has typically invested in North American and Western European companies in a wide variety of sectors, including business services, consumer, energy, and financial services. Nationwide, the firm typically invests between $50 million and $180 million in companies with enterprise values of between $100 million and $1 billion. —Bernard Vaughan