Thomas Lee Partners purchase stake in investment manager Hightower

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Thomas H. Lee Partners L.P. (THL) is acquiring a stake in registered investment advisory firm Hightower Advisors LLC. The private equity firm has agreed to commit an addition $100 million of new equity capital to accelerate HighTower's next phase of growth.

Hightower provides investment management services to high net worth individuals, corporations, endowments and foundations, institutions, retirement accounts, pension and taft-hartley plans, profit sharing plans, trusts, estates, and charitable organizations. The deal is expected to close no later than the first quarter of 2018.

"We want to be at the forefront of the changes disrupting the wealth management space, and we proactively sought out HighTower as the ideal partner – they are driving change and have been succeeding at it for a decade,” states THL managing director Ganesh Rao.

THL is a Boston-based equity firm that specializes in leveraged buyouts, growth capital, special situations, industry consolidations, and recapitalizations. Founded in 1974, THL has raised more than $20 billion in equity capital and has invested in more than 130 businesses. THL’s portfolio currently consists of companies such as Material Handling Systems Inc., iHeartMedia Inc., Univision Communications, First Bancorp, and Party City.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (NYSE: JPM) is serving as financial adviser to HighTower, while Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff LLP acting as legal counsel. Some of Hightower's institutional investors are being represented by Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. Wells Fargo Securities LLC (NYSE: WFC) is acting as financial adviser to THL, while Kirkland & Ellis is serving at legal counsel. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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