San Francisco merchant services firm Square Inc. is adding some star power, announcing that Lakers great and Dodgers part owner Earvin “Magic” Johnson will join the firm’s board this summer.

Square, the company behind the ubiquitous white credit card reader used by many small merchants, announced the appointment Wednesday. Jack Dorsey, chief executive of Square and a co-founder of Twitter, said Johnson will bring a new perspective to the company’s board.

“I have the deepest admiration for Earvin as a tireless champion for creating economic opportunity in underserved communities,” Dorsey said in a statement. “As a successful entrepreneur and advocate for economic inclusion, Earvin’s unique perspective will be invaluable to our community of sellers and our board.”

The NBA great, who is also chief executive of L.A.’s Magic Johnson Enterprises and founder and chairman of the Magic Johnson Foundation, which focuses on philanthropic efforts in underserved communities, said he is looking forward to his new role.

“I am ready to get to work as a member of Square’s Board of Directors so that any business, in any community, can compete and win,” Johnson said in a statement.

Ares, AIG Team Up to Make Small Businesses Loans

Ares Capital Corp., the specialty finance arm of Century City private equity and debt firm Ares Management, on Wednesday announced a new joint venture that will make loans to middle-market businesses, many of which can’t get loans from traditional banks due to tightened regulations after the financial crisis.

Ares is teaming up with New York’s Varagon Capital Partners – which is backed by international insurance giant American International Group Inc.

The joint venture, called the Senior Direct Lending Program, will underwrite and hold senior loans originated by Ares and Varagon. Ares, which began as a more traditional private equity fund, has become a major player in private lending. Its direct lending business oversaw $39 billion in assets as of March 31.

“We are excited to partner with Varagon in this new venture,” Ares Capital Chief Executive Kipp deVeer said in a press release announcing the partnership. “The Senior Direct Lending Program should continue to help us maintain our market-leading position as a provider of senior secured loans to middle-market companies.”

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.