TZP Has Two Closes, One Deal Under Belt

Target: avVenta Worldwide

Sponsor: TZP Group

Law Firm: Weil Gotshal

Fund: TPZ Group LP

Placement Agent: TK

Law Firm: Weil Gotshal

Despite a challenging market for fundraising and dealmaking, newcomer TZP Group has managed to do both. The New York-based start-up has held two closes on its debut fund, and in January, the firm announced an agreement to acquire a stake in avVenta Worldwide, an online advertising, digital production and interactive services business based in Charleston, S.C.

Just how much TZP Group has raised to date is unclear, and the firm declined to comment on its target. A large university endowment serves as the fund’s lead investor. Duke University has reportedly made a $5 million pledge to the fund. TZP Group’s strategy is to invest in lower-middle market companies in the business and consumer services industries with enterprise values between $50 million and $250 million.

Formed in March 2007, the firm markets a non-traditional track record, since many of its partners have experience is in the corporate world. TZP Group is run by managing partner Samuel L. Katz, who has been the CEO of Travelport Limited, Cendant Internet Group, Cendant’s Financial Services division and MacAndrews & Forbes Acquisition Holdings. He got his start in finance at Drexel Burnham Lambert and The Blackstone Group.

Katz said the firm’s appeal to potential limited partners has been its “partner of choice” strategy of working with entrepreneurs to build companies in a dramatic fashion. Such is the case with its inaugural investment in avVenta Worldwide. The company has taken a stake in the company for $20 million. Katz would not disclose the size of the stake but said the firm shares control with Jay Noce, the company’s founder and CEO. TZP Group plans to grow the company through better strategic prioritization, supplementing the management team, and bringing in new clients based on the relationships of TZP Group’s operating pros, Katz said.

“We find these companies wouldn’t have the kind of exposure to the contacts and experiences we have in the circles that they travel,” Katz said, in reference to the entrepreneurial companies TZP Group targets. Six of TZP Group’s nine deal professionals have a combination of operating and deal experience, he added.