Former Republican Presidential Candidate Returns to Boston to Work with Son’s Private Equity Firm
Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 23:03
In a move that signals his return to the private sector, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is returning to Boston to work part time for Solamere Capital, the private equity firm that was co-founded in 2008 by his eldest son Tagg Romney, 42. The former Massachusetts governor joins his son’s firm as chairman of the Executive Committee and will additionally serve as a participant on the Investment Committee. It is reported that Romney will work at the firm on a one-week per month basis. Though he will be advising on matters of private equity, he does not plan on fundraising for the firm.
In an email that went out to investors last Wednesday, which was obtained by The Boston Globe, Solamere declares that he is honored to have Romney more involved in the firm, as “Governor Romney’s track record in the private equity field is extraordinary.”
As the founder of and former head of asset management company Bain Capital, Romney focused both his 2008 and 2012 campaigns for president on his background in the business world, specifically in private equity. Prior to his entry into the political realm, Romney lead Bain Capital from 1984 to 1999 when the firm invested in companies including Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc., the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts, and Burlington Coat Factory Holdings Inc. Bain Capital is currently working on raising a new $6 billion fund.
Tagg Romney, who founded the Solarmere Capital just two weeks after his father dropped out of the 2008 presidential race, works as a managing partner alongside Eric Scheuermann and Spencer Zwick. Zwick, whom Romney considers to be a “sixth son,” had been deputy chief of staff while Mitt Romney served as governor of Massachusetts and additionally had led Romney’s fundraising team during his 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. The firm seemed to have had close ties to Romney’s campaigns of the past four years, at first sharing its address with the Romney campaign headquarters in Boston, before moving to its current location on Newbury Street. According to The Globe, Solamere Capital was named after a private community in Deer Valley, Utah, where the Romney family used to own a ski lodge.
Solamere’s investments are divided between other private equity firms and direct investments into companies. The firm emphasizes its goals as bringing together an exclusive network of successful business leaders with the objectives of gaining access to high-quality private investments and drawing on the strength of the networks to create value in those investments. Solamere is a “fund of funds” that invests in 22 other private equity funds, which is unlike many other private equity funds that specialize in seeking out companies to invest in directly. By making eight co-investments, the firm has given its investors the option of putting additional money into deals arranged by other firms. Similar to many other private funds, Solamere does not publicly disclose its portfolio.
After raising its debut fund in 2010, Solamere has collected more than $240 million in commitments. By Dec. 2011, the fund has invested approximately $100 million, according to the firm’s registered investment adviser filing. The email obtained by The Globe notes that the firm will begin accepting new investment commitments sometime during the first half of 2013, and made mention of a Solamere Investor Conference that will be held in June, which will “provide an update on the current investments and review upcoming opportunities.”
Just after losing the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney established office space at Solamere’s Newbury Street location in Boston, but had forgone official involvement in business matters in order to use the office to handle his personal affairs. At the time, advisers said that he had no plans to work at the firm. In the aftermath of the loss, Romney had retreated from the public view by spending time with his family in seclusion at his Southern California home, though he did rejoin the board of directors at Marriott International, based in Bethesda, MD. In December, Romney had served on the board two times previously, once from 1993 to 2002, when he left to run for governor of Massachusetts, then again in 2009 following his unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign and before launching his second campaign for president.
More recently, the former presidential candidate has been taking on more of a public profile. Romney will deliver his first public speech since losing the presidential election next week in Washington before a large gathering of conservatives at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Mar. 15.
Solamere Capital itself speculates that Romney working in his new high-level position could be advantageous to the venture capital firm, writing in the email to its investors, “We believe that Governor Romney’s experience and insight in private investing will enhance Solamere’s distinctiveness in this regard, and will be a large benefit to you, our investors.”