Jon Kutler


Quarterdeck Investment Partners Inc.

Specialty: Aerospace/defense investment analysis

The world of aerospace investment analysis is a small one, with the same names popping up again and again, whether the company being talked about is Boeing Co., Northrop Grumman Corp. or a smaller subcontractor.

On the West Coast, one name seems to come up more than most: Jon Kutler.

"The aerospace/defense industry has large barriers to entry," Kutler, 42, said of the relatively small number of industry analysts. "It is a very complicated industry to understand because of its arcane ways of doing business, and (it) being dominated by three-letter acronyms."

Kutler is president of Century City-based Quarterdeck Investment Partners Inc., which performs valuations of aerospace and defense companies and which also owns a portfolio of small aerospace companies, including Monrovia-based Composite Structures LLC.

After graduating from Annapolis, Kutler spent over nine years in the Navy as an anti-submarine-warfare officer and as a nuclear weapons officer. Later, he attended Harvard University's business school, and then went to work for First Boston (now Credit Suisse First Boston Corp.) Among the deals he worked on there was the merger that formed AlliedSignal Inc.

Kutler, along with Bruce Wasserstein, Joe Perella and others from First Boston, broke off to form their own firm in 1988, Wasserstein Perella & Co. Inc. Kutler opened the new firm's West Coast office originally working out of the living room of his Westwood home.

As Wasserstein Parella gew, the firm focused primarily on deals across a range of industries. But Kutler wanted to stick to aerospace and defense and given the consolidation among subcontractors, on deals with values of $500 million or less.

So he himself broke off to form Quarterdeck in 1992. The firm has doubled its revenues and the size of its staff each year since its formation, Kutler said, and it now has 24 employees.

Most of his work involves poring over numbers and negotiating transactions often while traveling between L.A. and Washington, where Quarterdeck has its second office. "If you ask my daughter what Daddy does, she'll say he flies on airplanes and talks on the phone," Kutler said.

Daniel Taub

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