Private Equity Team Leaves William Blair, Sets Up Own Shop

Aug 4 2006 | 12:00am ET

The partners of William Blair & Company’s private equity team have left to set up their own shop following a failure to agree on terms of the partnership agreement.

Ellen Carnahan and Gregg Newmark, who headed up William Blair Capital Partners, left the Chicago-based firm this week, taking with them managing partners Kathleen Johnston and Mio Stojkovich. The four have set up a firm called Seyen Capital.

This is the second time in as many years that William Blair Capital Partners has seen its management team flee.

Two years ago, five managing directors left to launch Chicago Growth Partners. Johnston and Stojkovich were then hired by William Blair to replace two of the directors who left at that time.

A spokesman for William Blair confirmed that the Chicago-based firm was suspending fund-raising efforts for its eighth fund, but he declined to elaborate further.

Calls to Gregg Newmark were not retuned by press time, though a message posted on Seyen’s new Web Site reads, “After agreeing to basic terms in July 2005 with William Blair & Company; and, despite having over one-third of the target commitments subscribed for a June 2006 closing, the partners of WBCP were unable to reach agreement with the firm on final partnership documentation.”

According to the note, the team will retain its portfolio responsibilities and the partners will continue as directors of the companies the prior funds have financed. The four are planning to remain in the private equity business and are “actively exploring new affiliate partners and opportunities.”

William Blair Capital Partners, which was established in 1982 and has managed over $1 billion in private capital, will continue to manage the three existing funds, William Blair Capital Partners V, VI and VII.  


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