NEW YORK — Investment banker Colin Welch has changed sides — and firms — with his latest move to TSG Consumer Partners.
Welch will now be focusing more on brand building than on just the advisory component of the business. As partner and managing director at the private equity firm, he will work on investments both in the U.S. and abroad.
Welch was formerly at investment banking firm Financo Inc. He joined Financo in September 2011 as president and chief executive officer from Credit Suisse Securities Europe, where he was managing director and head of Europe, Middle East and Africa retail and luxury goods investment banking. About a year later, Financo shifted gears and Welch became a partner at Financo along with John A. Berg and Gilbert Harrison. The partnership change had Berg becoming ceo, while Welch became president and chief operating officer.
Welch, who has a business degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, began his indoctrination into retail via the executive training program at Neiman Marcus. He went to Harvard Business School and became an investment banker, starting at Montgomery Securities before moving on to the bulge bracket firms that include Banc of America Securities, J.P. Morgan and Lehman Brothers Europe Ltd.
His move to TSG coincides with the firm’s closing in November of its seventh investment fund. The company raised $2.5 billion for the fund, which has two components. The first is a $2 billion fund that enables TSG to make investments as high as $400 million or more, while the carve-out is aimed at early-stage companies where investments are typically in the $15 million to $50 million range.
“I have been in the branded business for 20-plus years, doing it as an intermediary. I’ve gotten to know the partners at TSG over the years. When Chuck Esserman [TSG’s ceo and founder] approached me, I thought now is the time for a change. It certainly is a competitive space and TSG is incredibly well-positioned.
“In many respects, this ties back to quite a personal decision about what gets you most excited,” said Welch, noting that now he gets to have a more hands-on approach with the firms and is able to “formulate my own view of what makes an interesting business and put that into practice.”
Welch said he “hasn’t seen any downtick in terms of the opportunities” on the mergers and acquisitions front. Even though there’s been some correction in the public markets in terms of valuations and softness in the financing markets, he said the environment for M&A deals is still competitive.
“I believe that in the near-term, financing is more challenging than it was 12 to 18 months ago. That creates the question of who is best suited to take advantage of that,” Welch said, noting that for regular leveraged buyouts, financing could have an impact on what deals get done and how. TSG typically puts no or little leverage on the businesses in which they invest. With the latest fund raise, Welch said that there “could be instances where TSG might have the advantage [over other buyers] where it can show that it has capital that could be put to use more quickly and in a manner that does not required outside financing.”
TSG was founded in 1987, and was among the first of the private equity firms to focus solely on consumer products. It currently has total assets under management of $5 billion.