AUA Private Equity Partners has been launched in New York as an operationally-focused, lower middle-market private equity firm. The new firm is led by Andy Unanue, former COO and current shareholder of Goya Foods. Mr. Unanue is partnering with the former principals of Gotham Private Equity Partners, who have integrated their operations into AUA Equity. Joining Mr. Unanue as founding partners in AUA Equity are Steven Flyer, David Benyaminy and Kyce Chihi.
AUA Private Equity Partners makes equity investments in companies in the consumer, media and business services sectors with a particular focus on Hispanic-oriented companies and family-owned businesses located in the United States. The new firm plans to invest $10 to $30 million of equity in companies that generate $3 million to $15 million in EBITDA. AUA Equity will make control and significant minority investments in a variety of transactions and structures including: traditional leveraged buyouts; growth equity; recapitalizations; and roll-up strategies. Since 1997, AUA Equity’s principals have made over 25 private equity investments which include: Reddy Ice Group, El Pollo Loco, TRUFOODS, Two-Twenty Records Management and Brighter Dental Care. The firm is based in New York, NY (www.auaequity.com).
“I am extremely pleased to be establishing AUA Equity with an outstanding team of private equity professionals and operating executives,” said Managing Partner Andy Unanue. “We have been working together for many years and I believe our combination of operational expertise and private equity experience uniquely positions us to identify compelling investment opportunities, especially in Hispanic-oriented companies and family-owned businesses, and create additional value in our portfolio companies.”
Messrs. Benyaminy and Flyer began their investment careers in CIBC’s Leveraged Finance and Merchant Banking Group and then helped establish Trimaran Capital Partners, a $1.0 billion private equity fund.
Mr. Chihi previously worked in Deutsche Bank’s Leveraged Finance Group and as an investor at an international family office.