Matthew Janchar

Boston-based middle-market private equity firm Berkshire Partners recently hired Matthew Janchar as its in-house financial advisor. Janchar joins from Oak Hill Advisors, where as managing director he had managed the firm's debt, equity and structured finance operations. Before that, he worked in the leveraged finance group at Goldman Sachs, specializing in leveraged transactions for both privately-held and publicly-traded issuers Janchar's hiring is part of a trend toward bringing more portfolio company services in-house. Berkshire's move comes two years after Warburg Pincus established its own capital markets group. The firm brought on Christopher Turner to lead the firm's capital markets team. Turner, who was previously managing director at Goldman Sachs focusing on structured financings in the loan and bond markets, is also responsible for managing Warburg Pincus' commercial and investment banking relationships. PEI Manager spoke recently with Janchar about the necessity of having a financing specialist at a private equity firm.

What will your role be at Berkshire Partners?
My position is designed to provide coordination across all financing transactions, including existing portfolio companies, as well as new acquisitions. The creation of the position reflects Berkshire's goal of further enhancing its relationships with external financing providers and continuing a track record of successful execution. In addition, the role reflects recognition of the increasing complexity, innovation and creativity among the sources and structures of capital that are now available to private equity investors.

What are some of the important trends in financing for Berkshire's portfolio?
In the last several months, Berkshire has completed financings with both new and existing portfolio companies. Those transactions encompasses the full spectrum of capital markets activities, including an IPO, strategic acquisitions by existing portfolio companies, new investments and standalone refinancings for existing portfolio companies. Within our active and mature portfolio of existing investments, as well as our new investments backed by a recent fund-raising, we are engaging in capital markets activities across the entire lifecycle spectrum of our portfolio. We recognize that the creativity and receptivity of the capital markets have a direct impact on all of those financings, wherever they fall in the lifecycle of a portfolio company.

Is financing a service Berkshire provides to portfolio companies for a fee?
No. The capital markets expertise that Berkshire provides is simply an extension of the services that we have always provided to existing portfolio companies. My position is an expansion of a service model that previously existed and now includes a dedicated capital markets function.

In structuring your role at Berkshire, was there a precedent model you looked at?
Berkshire and I are aware of other funds that have developed a dedicated capital markets function. But we expect my position to be customized and specific to how Berkshire seeks investments, completes investments and then manages those investments in collaboration with company management teams. The fact that other funds have developed similar financing capabilities was an interesting barometer of trends within the private equity universe, but we are continuing to customize the role to achieve full integration with Berkshire's specific operating model.