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Kudu Buys Stake in Alternative Asset Manager EJF Capital

Kudu Investment Management will probably do three or four more deals in the “relatively short term,” the firm’s chairman said.

Kudu Investment Management has acquired a minority stake in EJF Capital, an alternative investment firm that manages billions of dollars across private equity, real estate, and hedge fund strategies.

EJF, which focuses on regulatory event-driven themes in the financial and real estate sectors, will use the new capital to invest in its existing and future funds, according to a statement Wednesday from the firm. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

Kudu “jumped at the opportunity” to invest in EJF, Kudu’s chairman and managing partner Charlie Ruffel said in a phone interview Wednesday. “This is an opportunity to institutionalize their business and build and scale their platform.”

EJF was co-founded 14 years ago by co-chief executive officers Manny Friedman and Neal Wilson. The firm managed about $7.6 billion in assets across hedge funds, private equity, real estate funds, and separate accounts at the end of June, as well as $3 billion in structured products, according to the statement.

Ruffel described EJF as “extraordinarily creative and innovative,” saying the firm’s stake in the asset manager is one of its largest.

Kudu, which is backed by White Mountains Insurance Group, has made several other passive investments in asset and wealth managers, according to Ruffel. For example, the firm announced July 29 that it acquired a minority stake in First Long Island Investors, which manages $1.6 billion in assets for high-net-worth individuals and families.

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Kudu has no plans to slow its pace of investing in asset managers, according to Ruffel.  

“We’re not a python, we don’t have to wait to digest anything,” he said. “We’ll be doing probably three or four investments in the relatively short term.” 

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