Goldman Mezzanine Chief Muneer Satter Steps Down
Muneer Satter, who built the world’s largest family of mezzanine funds at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), is leaving the bank after 24 years, according to two people familiar with his plans.
Satter, 50, is departing to spend more time with his family after commuting for the past 12 years from his home in Chicago to Goldman Sachs’s headquarters in New York, the people said, asking not to be named because his move hasn’t been announced publicly.
Satter, who serves as one of the co-chairs for U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s national finance committee, became a partner at Goldman Sachs in 1996 and oversees a team of about 20 people who work in the firm’s merchant bank. The business has raised more than $28 billion since its inception 16 years ago and is the biggest in the world, according to the company’s website.
“I’m surprised he lasted as many years as he did commuting from Chicago,” said Gordon Crawford, the fund manager at Capital Group Cos. in Los Angeles whose views help shape media industry deals. “He’s been offered other gigs in New York but that’s not going to happen.”
Satter didn’t return a call seeking comment about his departure.
Mezzanine funds make loans to companies at higher rates than banks and buy their preferred stock. They profit from interest payments and the eventual sale of the equity interest. The financing technique is often used in takeovers, and can take the place of high-yield, high-risk debt.
Goldman Sachs’s merchant bank, which has raised about $120 billion in funds ranging from private equity and debt to infrastructure, named Satter as both chairman of its risk committee and a member of the investment committee. Satter’s group started with $1.2 billion and created its largest fund, of $13 billion, in 2007.
While Goldman Sachs doesn’t break out the merchant bank’s revenue or profit, gains on its holdings are included in a segment called “Investing & Lending” in the company’s quarterly reports. That business generated about 7 percent of Goldman Sachs’s net revenue in 2011, 19 percent in 2010 and 6 percent in 2009, according to company reports.
Goldman Sachs’s mezzanine funds could become subject to the Volcker rule, which limits depository institutions from supplying more than 3 percent of the capital in a hedge fund, private-equity fund or other “covered fund.” Goldman Sachs has been asking regulators to loosen the proposed limits on bank investments in such pools.
Satter’s deals include helping to finance the 11.1 billion- pound ($17.2 billion) leveraged buyout of Alliance Boots Plc, the largest U.K. drugstore chain, and Blackstone Group LP’s takeover of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV’s amusement-park business for $2.3 billion.
“Muneer got to the point pretty quickly and, as a client, you didn’t try bullying terms out of him,” Christopher Stadler, managing partner at CVC Capital Partners Ltd., said in an interview. “He responded to the strength of the relationship.”
As a result of helping to finance LBOs, Satter’s unit worked closely with the investment bank’s financial-sponsors group, which was previously co-led globally by Milton Berlinski. Berlinski left the bank after 25 years in December.
Satter contributed $95,000 to the super-PAC backing Romney, Open Secrets data show.
“He has been a leader and adviser to me and my campaign, for which I’m grateful,” Romney said through a spokesman. “Even more importantly, I consider him a dear friend.”
At the local level, he has contributed to Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, Open Secrets data show. He sits on the board of World Business Chicago, the city’s not-for-profit economic- development corporation whose chairman is Emanuel.
He is also chairman of the finance committee at the Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit that promotes diversity among the world’s plant and animal species, according to the organization’s website.
“I have followed his career and his success is no surprise,” said Sam Zell, chairman of Equity Group Investments LLC.
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