Daily News: April 4, 2012

AUA Private Equity Partners Announces Formation

AUA Private Equity Partners announced its formation as a New York-based, operationally focused, lower middle-market private equity firm. The firm 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. AUA Equity will leverage its experience investing in Hispanic-oriented companies and its proven successes in developing and penetrating the U.S. Hispanic market.

The firm is led by Andy Unanue, former COO and current shareholder of Goya Foods, the Hispanic-owned food company. Unanue is complemented by a team of investment professionals with significant institutional private equity experience.

Unanue is partnering with the former principals of Gotham Private Equity Partners, who have integrated their operations into AUA Equity. Joining Unanue as founding partners in AUA Equity are Steven Flyer, David Benyaminy and Kyce Chihi. 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 billion private equity fund. Chihi previously worked in Deutsche Bank’s Leveraged Finance Group and as an investor at an international family office. 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.

AUA Equity plans to invest $10 to $30 million of equity in companies that generate $3 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.