Robert Miller’s Search Group sells Squadron Capital

US-based Flag Capital is acquiring the Hong Kong-based private-equity investment team.
Robert Miller’s Search Group sells Squadron Capital

Search Investment Group, the private investment company of the Robert Miller family in Hong Kong, has agreed to sell its subsidiary, Squadron Capital Advisors, to Stamford, Connecticut-based Flag Capital Management.

Squadron has been managing Asian private-equity funds since 2006, although some members of the team have been in the business since 1989. It mainly invests in funds of PE funds, although it also has direct investments, and has $1.5 billion of assets under management. No terms for the deal were disclosed.

Although initially set up for the Miller family, Search and its subsidiaries also run money for third-party individuals, family offices and institutional investors.

Squadron’s CEO, David Pierce, will become a partner at Flag. He says the acquirer’s 17-year track record and scalability of its platform can “take our investment platform to the next level”.

In a statement, Miller says Search will remain an investor in the combined firm’s Asia PE offerings, and will invest in Flag’s global PE portfolios. No mention was made of Sail Advisors, Search Group’s fund-of-hedge-fund subsidiary.

Flag has about $4.5 billion of assets, so the acquisition brings its total size to $6 billion. It bought Squadron to add a pan-Asian team to its US and European operations. It plans to find efficiencies by merging the marketing, distribution and operational sides of the business.

A founding partner, Peter Lawrence, says the acquisition means Squadron’s investment professionals can not only add Asia products to the stable, but can provide input to Flag’s existing global strategies. Lawrence is co-head of Flag’s US venture-capital strategy.

Founded in 1994, Flag caters to a similar profile of investors, including pension funds, endowments and family offices. It invests globally in venture capital, private equity and real assets.

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