Ex-Goldman Banker Said to Seek Debut RedBird Fund

RedBird Capital Partners LLC, co-founded by a former leader of the private-equity business at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., is seeking $400 million for a debut fund to help back entrepreneurs and business owners.

Gerald Cardinale, 46, the former co-head of Americas private-equity funds at Goldman Sachs, and Earl Rotman, 58, are targeting a first close of about $150 million within weeks, said a person with knowledge of the fundraising, who asked not to be named because the information is private. The two started the firm last year and will mainly invest in media and entertainment, sports, communication-infrastructure and consumer-goods companies.

Cardinale spent most of his career at Goldman Sachs, where he managed more than $6 billion in investments, including a stake in Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network, which was founded in 2001 to broadcast the games of the New York Yankees baseball team and New Jersey Nets basketball team. In 2007, he worked with Yankees third-baseman Alex Rodriguez to help negotiate a new contract, people familiar with the matter said at the time.

Adrian Maizey, chief operating officer at New York-based RedBird, declined to comment on fundraising.

Cardinale and Rotman worked together for the first time in 2006, when Goldman Sachs’s private-equity unit and CanWest Global Communications, which was led by Leonard Asper, looked to purchase Canadian media company Alliance Atlantis Communications. Cardinale helped structure the deal, while Rotman represented the Asper family.

Leaving Goldman

In 2012, Cardinale, known as Gerry, along with two other senior employees of Goldman Sachs’s merchant bank left as the bank prepared for regulations that would limit its investments in private-equity funds to 3 percent. Cardinale joined merchant bank BDT Capital Partners, where he decided he wanted to back entrepreneurs and business owners so left the firm and teamed with Rotman to form RedBird, said the person.

Rotman had built a business before, when he co-founded Genuity Capital Markets in 2005, which merged with Canaccord Financial Inc. in 2010.

The debut RedBird fund will make equity and structured equity investments of $30 million to $80 million, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. It will target companies with $25 million to $50 million of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, said the person, and will also make lifestyle, hospitality and gaming investments.

RedBird is gathering commitments as first-time funds find it harder to attract capital. Debut pools raised $5 billion in the first quarter, the lowest amount in that period since the financial crisis, according to London-based researcher Preqin Ltd. Investors have been narrowing the number of managers they want to back, making the environment more competitive for fund managers.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.