NEW YORK--Oct. 26, 2000-- VS&A Communications Partners III, L.P., the $1 billion private equity affiliate of media merchant bank Veronis Suhler, has named George L. Cole a principal.
The 42-year-old Mr. Cole joins Veronis Suhler from First Union Securities, Inc. where he has been managing director of the firm's Media and Entertainment investment banking group.
VS&A Communications Partners III is one of the largest private equity fund devoted exclusively to investments in the media, communications, and information industries. Mr. Cole will report to Jeffrey T. Stevenson, Partner, Veronis Suhler; and President & Managing General Partner, VS&A Communications Partners. "As a member of our third fund's advisory committee and a long-time banker to many of our existing portfolio companies, George Cole has enjoyed an inside view of our media and communications industry investment activity," said Mr. Stevenson. "George and I have worked together on a number of transactions from our first two equity funds -- he brings a great deal of media industry and capital markets experience to our operations."
Mr. Cole joined First Union Securities, Inc. in 1987, where he worked in the Leveraged Finance Department in the firm's New York and Charlotte offices. As co-head and managing director of First Union's Media & Entertainment group, he specialized in publishing, business information services and professional sports franchises, while maintaining strong relationships with numerous media-focused private equity groups. Under Mr. Cole's co-leadership, First Union's Media & Entertainment Group has become the Number One agent for media sector senior credit facilities since January 1999. The group has arranged more than $20 billion in capital for media and entertainment companies and has lead and co-managed more than $6 billion in media sector high-yield offerings since 1996. The group has co- managed more than $4 billion in media equity offerings since January 1999.
"I've worked with the VS&A Communications Partners team for more than a decade and have developed a tremendous respect for the firm and its professionals," Mr. Cole said. "I am pleased to join Fund III and look forward to contributing to the firm's success."
Mr. Cole has served on the advisory board of Great Hill Partners, a leading Boston-based investment firm that provides equity financing and strategic guidance to telecommunications, e-business services and Internet infrastructure services companies. He is a frequent speaker at publishing and sports industry conferences. He earned a BBA from the University of Texas in 1980 and an MBA from the University of Houston in 1984.
VS&A Communications Partners III, L.P. recently announced the acquisition of Phillips Business Information Inc., a full-service business media company engaged in trade magazine publishing, business information services, and conferences and trade shows. VS&A Communications Partners III also announced its investment in ITE, one of Europe's leading trade show operators, specializing in serving emerging markets. Fund III's portfolio companies include Hanley-Wood, the leading trade magazine publisher and trade show operator in its core B2B market--the residential construction industry; HCIA-Sachs, a leading developer and provider of information solutions to the healthcare industry; and Data Transmission Network, a leading B2B information services and e-commerce company serving the agriculture, weather, energy, and financial services industries.
Funds I and II invested in 18 portfolio companies, which subsequently made more than 80 add-on acquisitions. VS&A Communications Partners is the private equity affiliate of Veronis Suhler, a leading media merchant bank, which recently announced the opening of its UK affiliate, Veronis, Suhler International Limited, in London.
Allan Ripp Public Relations, New York
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