It seems like a new private equity shop rears its head in Los Angeles every week, and the banks have noticed.

The private equity shops need bankers to help finance acquisitions, recapitalize portfolio companies and provide lines of credit.

That’s the thesis of Adam Feit, MUFG Union Bank’s L.A. market president, who jumped from Bank of America Corp. in November to help his new employer start a private equity practice group.

“It was a great opportunity for me to become market president in one of the bank’s largest markets,” he said. “It was also an opportunity for me to build out a commercial banking private equity practice.”

Feit said an aging population of business owners – some of them Union Bank business customers – are primed to sell in the coming years as private equity buyers continue to snap up companies at a growing rate. The bank would have missed out on a big chunk of that business, Feit explained, if it hadn’t formalized its private equity group.

“It’s both playing offense and defense,” he said. “Private equity is obviously out there doing deals and we need to be proactive on that side, but from a defensive perspective, our business clients are also looking to sell and we need to provide (private equity) coverage for them as well.”

Union Bank also hired Matthew Dalany as a managing director last month in order to shore up its broad-based private equity support. Dalany, who spent the last two-plus years opening the West Coast office of Chicago-based investment bank Verit Advisors after a long tenure at Bank of America, will help lead the group as it develops a deal pipeline.

Feit said Union Bank currently has about 10 private equity deals through which it is providing various lending services. The bank could be particularly helpful when dealing with companies with lower earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization.

“Roughly 50 percent of our private equity deals involved companies with between $5 million and $20 million of Ebitda,” he said. “Everyone wants the $100 million Ebitda deal, but sponsors really remember when you do a smaller deal like this that other banks aren’t clamoring to do.”

High Bar

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