Challenger merges with Foxbridge

Investment bank Challenger Capital Group has merged with Foxbridge Partners, a middle market private equity firm established last year.

Middle market private equity firm Foxbridge Partners has merged with investment bank Challenger Capital Group. The two firms, both based in Dallas, Texas, will keep the Challenger name, and serve as a regional financial services firm, offering both advisory services and private equity funding.

“The combination of an independent advisory business with a broad set of relationships will provide a differentiated investment platform upon which to launch a private equity fund,” said Douglas Wheat, chairman of the combined entities, in a statement. “This will be unique in our market, but it is a formula that has been successfully employed by a number of Northeastern firms.”

Led by executive director and president Mark Stephens, Challenger has begun raising a new fund with a $300 million target; its first close is expected by the year’s end.

In connection with the merger, Peter Grauer, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Bloomberg – and a former colleague of Wheat and Stephens at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette – has joined Challenger’s board of directors.

Challenger’s new board of directors, all of whom are capital investors in the company, include Todd Bradley, executive vice president of Hewlett-Packard’s Personal Systems Group; James Ellis, managing partner of Ellis Rosier; Michael French, executive director of Challenger; Gary Griffith, chairman and chief executive officer of Apex Global Partners; Joseph Hawkins, chief executive officer of MHA Group; and Jerry Meyer, chairman and chief executive officer of Walls Industries.

The combined firm will have an initial staff of 15 professionals with a combined transaction resume of more than 363 investment banking transactions, totaling $70.7 billion in value, and 15 private equity transactions worth $10 billion, it said.

Foxbridge Partners was founded in 2006 by Wheat and Todd Robichaux to focus on middle-market investments.

Investment bank Challenger has offices in Dallas and Chicago.