What’s In A Name? Shamrock Capital Advisors

It’s always popular to name your private equity firm after plant life—note Cypress Group, Oaktree Capital Management, PineStar, Shamrock….Wait, scratch that. Shamrock Capital Advisors is actually named after a boat, Roy Disney’s yacht, to be exact.

Shamrock was founded to lead investments for the Disney family 27 years ago. After it completed its first deal in 1978, a buyout of a radio broadcasting company, the lawyers asked Roy Disney what he wanted to call the company. He chose his boat, a 52-foot yawl. Originally the name was meant to christen merely the holding company for that first acquisition, an entity that still exists today. But later, the whole firm absorbed the label.

By now, “there are probably 20 different names, Shamrock this and Shamrock that, that are all different partnerships,” said managing director Stephen Royer. Disney’s private jet is also called Air Shamrock.

A sailor who has raced all over the world and former director of the Walt Disney Co., Disney eventually ditched the boat in favor of bigger and better vessels. He named the others Pyewacket (I, II, III and IV) after a cat in the 1950s Disney movie “Bell, Book and Candle.”

Disney retired from boat racing last year, but not before setting a few records in the TransPacific yacht race from Los Angeles to Honolulu. The racing community loves him. On hearing he would retire, Yachting magazine wrote, “To hear Roy Disney say that this will be his last TransPac and that he is retiring from sailboat racing is a little like hearing that The Rolling Stones are on their final concert tour. If he’s still going strong, still belting out the same hits year after year on the distance-racing circuit, why quit now?”

Shamrock currently has five different investment focuses, including domestic private equity, Israeli private equity, real estate, activist investing in public companies and hotels.