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Huntsman Is Said to Seek Debut Fund Focusing on Chemicals

Huntsman-Lion Capital LLC, co-founded by the father of former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr., is seeking $800 million for a debut fund focusing on chemical companies, said two people briefed on the matter.

The firm, whose largest investor is Jon Huntsman Sr., will make middle-market investments in chemical and related materials businesses, according to the company’s website. Huntsman-Lion hired Greenhill & Co. to help raise the fund, said the people, who asked not be identified because the information is private. It’s reviewing the mandate after Moelis & Co. this week said it hired four Greenhill employees to create a group helping private-equity funds raise money, one of the people said.

David DeLeeuw, co-president at the firm with his brother Peter, declined to comment. Bill Thompson, head of capital advisory for New York-based Greenhill, didn’t respond to phone and e-mail requests for comment.

‘Dynamic Change’

Huntsman Sr., 76, who created chemicals-maker Huntsman Corp. (HUN) and co-founded private-equity firm Huntsman Gay Global Capital LLC, started Huntsman-Lion Capital in 2013 with the DeLeeuws. When Huntsman Sr. found out the brothers were raising a fund after expressing interest in a company the two were sponsoring, that led to a partnership in which he provided an anchor investment in the firm, Peter DeLeeuw said in a December speech at an American Chemical Society awards function in New York.

“I have worked with this man for 30 years on deals and he is a walking success and hopefully we can continue that,” DeLeeuw said.

Huntsman-Lion Capital, with offices in New York, Houston and Salt Lake City, is seeking capital as shale drilling has pushed down the price of natural gas, making U.S. chemical exports more attractive.

“The chemical industry today is just on the threshold of great growth and dynamic change,” Huntsman Sr. said at the December event, where he was honored for lifetime achievement. “I’ve never seen it before like it is today, where fracking and natural gas and consolidation and businesses are restructuring all over the world.”

Avoiding Conflict

Huntsman Sr. said he won’t be an officer and director at the new firm to avoid conflicting with his chairman role at Huntsman Corp. His son Paul Huntsman is a managing director at the new firm, and previously made industrial and chemicals investments at Huntsman Gay. Huntsman Jr., his eldest son, was governor of Utah and U.S. ambassador to China before running for president in 2012.

David DeLeeuw co-founded Lion Cao Asset Management, a firm focused on private-equity, direct investments and co-investments. In 2001, he and Peter started Lion Chemical Capital LLC, a private-equity firm devoted to chemical and materials businesses.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sabrina Willmer in New York at swillmer2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net Josh Friedman, Pierre Paulden

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