Founded by asset management and banking veteran Art Mbanefo, Phoenix Merchant Partners has launched a private credit strategy that will provide financing to Gryphon Holdings, a company active in quota share non-catastrophic property and casualty reinsurance services.
The Gryphon Holdings deal structure includes a combination of two financial instruments: a delayed draw senior facility and the issuance of preferred shares. The terms include the ability for the firm and other related parties to provide additional growth financing over the next several months.
Houlihan Lokey is now being engaged to serve as financial advisor on the next stages of the deal. “Art and the team at Phoenix have established well-deserved reputations as creative capital providers at a number of companies and across multiple geographies, this is not the first time we see them bring new innovations to the insurance market,” said Arik Rashkes, managing director and co-head of Houlihan Lokey’s Financial Services Group. “We believe that this could be the first of many innovative financings by the Phoenix Merchant Partners platform that can help redefine how companies approach financing alternatives.”
Phoenix is focused on providing flexible financing solutions to the middle-market community and currently has $900 million in assets under management. Mbanefo, who had been CIO of Barclays, CIO and head of asset management of ORIX USA and CIO/co-CEO of Paloma Partners, leads the firm beside Tim Throsby, president, CRO and CCO. Previously Mbanefo worked with Throsby while he was CEO at Barclays Bank.
“We see significant unmet financing needs among unsponsored businesses in the middle market and believe our creativity, prudent approach to structure and focus on process uniquely position us to identify and execute on that differentiated opportunity set,” said Mbanefo, Phoenix Founder, CEO and CIO. “We are excited to launch this part of our platform through our relationship with Gryphon, which provides testament to our ability to pivot and offer bespoke financing solutions that match company and industry dynamics.”
Several senior hires on the investment team were also announced. Adrian Macedo joined as managing director and head of investments from ORIX USA, where he most recently worked with Mbanefo in a similar role. Julia Henderson will join Phoenix as managing director, Insurance Solutions, effective Feb. 1. She previously served as president and head of portfolio management at Stable Corporation, where she remains on the board of directors.
Phoenix also named Benjamin Weston to its advisory board. He recently served as global head of Alternative Investments and CIO of the Alternatives Investments Department at Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.