As co-leader of Ropes & Gray’s sponsor solutions group, Paul Van Houten focuses his practice on addressing the diverse and complex legal needs of private equity sponsors. In addition to representing private equity sponsors in connection with their investments in a wide variety of industries, including technology, retail, consumer products and professional and financial services, Paul regularly provides advice to sponsors at all stages of their life-cycle with respect to a wide range of internal matters and significant capital transactions, including formation of new managers, capital raises and liquidity events (e.g., GP stakes transactions), joint ventures, generational succession planning and mergers and acquisitions. Paul also provides strategic fund-related advice to managers including with respect to new fund launches, product-line expansion and fund liquidity transactions, including GP-led secondaries.
Representative clients include Gridiron Capital, TSG Consumer Partners, Dragoneer Investment Group, Monomoy Capital Partners, HarbourVest, Cove Hill Partners, Mason Wells, Agriculture Capital Management and Natixis Investment Managers.
Representative Private Equity Transactions
- Represented TSG Consumer Partners in acquisition of Joe Hudson’s Collision Centers. The company operates approximately 110 state-of-the-art auto body repair shops across the Southeastern region of the United States.
- Represented TSG Consumer Partners in the acquisition of Duckhorn Wine Company, which included all six Duckhorn Wine Company wineries, and the subsequent acquisitions of Calera Wine Company and Kosta Browne.
- Represented TSG Consumer Partners in its investment in Huda Beauty, one of the world's fastest-growing beauty brands and includes a full range of products in retail outlets including ShopHudaBeauty.com, Sephora, Sephora in JC Penney, Harrods, Selfridges, and Cult Beauty.
- Represented TSG Consumer Partners its acquisition of Planet Fitness, an operator of health clubs, and its subsequent IPO.
- Represented Gridiron Capital in its acquisition of Dent Wizard.
- Represented TSG Consumer Partners in its investment in SweetWater Brewing.
- Represented Mason Wells, Inc., a leading Midwest-based private equity firm, in its acquisition of RJW Group, a leading provider of supply chain logistics services for consumer packaged goods companies.
- Represented Mason Wells in its investment in CE Power Solutions and multiple add-on acquisitions.
- Represented TSG Consumer Partners in its sale of Gardein, a provider of protein food products.
- Represented TSG Consumer Partners in its sale of GFA Brands, maker of Smart Balance® and Earth Balance® heart healthy food products and other established brands, to a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC).
Representative Investment Management Transactions
- Represented Natixis Investment Managers in connection with its investment in WCM Asset Management.
- Represented Benefit Street Partners L.L.C. in its appointment as external investment advisor to Business Development Corporation of America.
- Represented Benefit Street Partners L.L.C., a leading credit-focused alternative asset management firm, in its acquisition of the investment portfolio of Triangle Capital Corporation.
- Represented founders of leading private fund manager in connection with a recapitalization and generational succession transaction.
- Represented 3i Group in its strategic transaction with Fraser Sullivan, a privately owned investment manager.
- Represented Natixis Investment Managers in connection with its acquisition of McDonnell Investment Management, LLC, a privately owned investment manager.
- Represented Siguler Guff & Co., an alternative investment manager, in connection with the sale of a minority stake to Bank of New York Mellon.
- Represented Lee Munder Capital Group, a privately owned investment manager in connection with its sale to City National Corp.
Representative Other Matters
- Represented TSG Consumer Partners in connection with the raising of TSG8, L.P.
- Represented Gridiron Capital in connection with the raising of Gridiron Capital Fund, L.P., Gridiron Strategic Advisors Fund, L.P., Gridiron Capital Fund II, L.P., Gridiron Strategic Advisors Fund II, L.P., Gridiron Capital Fund III, L.P. and Gridiron Strategic Advisors Fund III, L.P.