Thursday, January 11, 2007

Quattrone's Next Move?

I apologize for the lag in posting. I'm out here in California yet again, sitting down with one of my advisors for this new venture when I can get some of his time. I'll be back in DC on Sunday, so things will start returning to full-on normal then.

This is something I look forward to seeing - the next act of Frank Quattrone. While I never dealt with the man, his reputation is, of course, legendary. So if a man such as Frank Quattrone goes into private equity or builds a hedge fund, as is being widely (mistakenly?) speculated, what does this do for the world of technology finance? Silver Lake was the first really tech-focused PE shop (at least, on a large scale, that I can think of). Roger McNamee's Elevation Partners has garnered a bit of a name in this arena as well, even though they seem to be more media oriented, along the lines of Steve Ratner's Quandrangle Group or Allen & Co. So Silver Lake is kind of the big tech PE name.

So what does happen if Quattrone builds a hedge fund? Of course you'll see lots of people who worked with/for the man in their past lives move into his firm. From the sound of things, I don't think Frank is a hedge fund type of guy. IB is very relationship focused, and Quattrone was the quintessential tech banker. Private equity would appear to be more up his alley.

So how does this affect the world of technology finance? More competition for technology deals seems obvious. A worthy competitor for Silver Lake is pretty much a wrap too. Increased deal sizes. These (generally, if you can stomach the thought of leverage) seem to be good things. On the startup side of the technology equation, I don't think we see much change at all. It'll be the established companies that worry or cheer because Frank is back in the game. The rest of us will just keep on movin' forward.

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