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Knowledge  |  11/07/2018  |  Laura Kreutzer

FFL Provides Growth-Equity Investment for Accordion Partners

By Laura Kreutzer, Reporter, The Wall Street Journal

FFL Partners has gone from satisfied customer to minority investor.

The San Francisco-based firm said it has taken a minority stake in Accordion Partners, a consulting firm that specializes in services for the chief financial officers and finance teams at private-equity portfolio companies.

Before investing in the company, FFL was a client, working with Accordion on at least five different projects, according to Cas Schneller, a partner at the firm. He added that Accordion helped certain FFL portfolio companies with tasks such as strategic financial planning and reporting, and merger-integration planning for add-on acquisitions.

“We got to know them as a client first,” Mr. Schneller said.

WSJ PE Pro
Laura’s article was published in The Wall Street Journal on October 10, 2018.

Founded in late 2009 by former Bear Stearns Cos. banker Nick Leopard, Accordion offers services under four main areas. They span operational and technical accounting; strategic financial planning and analysis; transaction execution; and a performance improvement platform, which was recently created.

Accordion, which serves more than 150 fund managers and their portfolio companies, plans to use the capital infusion to cash out some early friends and family investors and to help fund the company’s expansion, Mr. Leopard said.

He sees an opportunity to expand the company’s geographic presence and its product offerings. Accordion recently has been building its performance improvement team, which will focus on assisting companies not performing to their potential or for turnaround situations.

The company has seen demand for its services swell as the private-equity industry has grown, according to Mr. Leopard.

“The whole private-equity market is going through this maturation process right now and there is a bigger focus on value creation,” he said. “We’re in the middle of that.”

FFL is financing the deal out of its fourth flagship fund, which wrapped up in 2015 with some $2 billion, according to Mr. Schneller. Although the firm didn’t disclose the size of its investment, it typically targets equity commitments of $50 million to $300 million to individual transactions, according to its website.

Write to Laura Kreutzer at laura.kreutzer@wsj.com

FFL Provides Growth-Equity Investment for Accordion Partners

FFL, which took a minority stake in the business, was previously a client of Accordion, which provides consulting and operational advisory services to private-equity firms and their portfolio companies.

wsj.com