Harpeth Capital Announces Merger With West End Capital Partners

Chuck Byrge To Become Harpeth Capital President

Harpeth Capital and West End Capital Partners, both Nashville-based investment banking firms, have merged and will function under the Harpeth Capital name, according to Turney Stevens, CEO of Harpeth’s parent company, and Charles (“Chuck”) Byrge, Managing Partner of West End Capital.

Byrge has been named as President of Harpeth Capital and will function as Head of Investment Banking, while Stevens will focus his attention on growing Harpeth Companies, parent of Harpeth Capital, through acquisitions of other related businesses.

“Not only are we excited to merge the professionals and the capabilities of two outstanding teams,” Stevens said, “we are most enthusiastic about the experience and seasoned investment banking skills Chuck will bring to the day-to-day leadership of the merged firms.”

Byrge is a Nashville native, a Vanderbilt alumnus with both undergraduate and graduate business degrees, and a well-known veteran Nashville investment banker having formerly been associated with Morgan Keegan, SunTrust Equitable Securities, and FTN Financial, the investment banking subsidiary of First Tennessee Bank.

“Harpeth Capital provides a tremendous platform for us to continue the vision we had for West End Capital, providing sophisticated advisory and capital raising services to middle market public and private companies,” said Byrge. “We are particularly excited about having the opportunity to leverage Harpeth Capital’s significant healthcare experience and newly formed Advisory Board, as well as the opportunity to become part of a larger and more diversified financial services firm.”

In addition to building the existing middle market investment banking business and the real estate financing services of Harpeth Capital and Harpeth Capital Real Estate Advisors, respectively, Stevens said the company has identified three other synergistic areas for future growth: asset management, merchant banking/principal investing, and strategic consulting services.

Stevens said he is actively seeking to identify potential acquisition opportunities or growth initiatives for each.

Byrge said Harpeth Capital will continue to develop its nationally-known capabilities in healthcare and bankruptcy investment banking, but will now also be able to offer West End Capital’s specialties in the consumer, retail and restaurant industries, business services, manufacturing and technology, along with enhanced public company advisory capabilities including going private transactions, fairness opinions and private investments in public equity (“PIPEs”.)

“With this single transaction, we believe we have created a serious contender to be the region’s leader for middle market investment banking services.” Byrge said, “As we move into the future with our new partners at Harpeth Capital, our intent is to be the Nashville and southeastern leader among firms focused on serving the middle market.”

Harpeth was founded in late 1999 by Stevens, Clayton Associates and Sam Bartholomew. Both Clayton Associates, the private equity management firm of the Clayton McWhorter family, and Bartholomew, chairman emeritus of Adams and Reese / Stokes Bartholomew, remain as active investors, according to Stevens.

West End Capital was formed by Byrge in early 2005 and was comprised largely of the former members of the Nashville-based investment banking team of First Tennessee Bank.