University of Michigan backs former Cargill execs O’Brien and Staley

  • Commits $50 mln to O’Brien-Staley 
  • Tags $25 mln for funds managed by Marquee Brands Partners
  • Earmarks $30 mln for a European debt fund

The largest of the two commitments, $50 million, went to fund from O’Brien-Staley Partners that will acquire “small balance” commercial and industrial loans from underwriters, according to endowment documents.

Former Cargill Inc executives Warren Staley and Gerald O’Brien launched the firm in 2013. O’Brien-Staley was said to be approaching a third and possible final close on its debut fund’s $500 million target in December, according to a Dow Jones report. The firm did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

Separately, the $10 billion endowment allocated $25 million across funds managed by Marquee Brands Partners, a Neuberger Berman-backed platform that will acquire intellectual property from consumer brands. Neuberger Berman appointed Michael DeVirgilio, former president of Kenneth Cole Productions, and Cory Baker, formerly of branding consultant Julian Wolf Inc, to lead the platform.

The Marquee Brands platform had raised $110.6 million as of Jan. 13, according to an SEC filing. A fund target was not available.

Neuberger Berman declined to comment.

Elsewhere, University of Michigan committed $30 million to a feeder fund for a European senior debt fund managed by GSO Capital Partners, the credit arm of Blackstone Group.

In addition to its commitments to Marquee Brands and O’Brien-Staley, the University of Michigan has re-upped with several existing managers, according to documents released in advance of the May 21 meeting. For example, the endowment in January committed $6 million to Sequoia Capital’s Fund XV.

The University of Michigan had a $1.2 billion private equity portfolio as of March 31, according to endowment documents.