Jan 20, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jared Kushner wants to Trump-proof his private equity future

GIF of Jared Kushner putting on sunglasses.

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Jared Kushner appears to have convinced the private equity market that he'll stick with his new firm, called Affinity Partners, even if his father-in-law returns to the White House.

The big picture: Private equity is littered with former presidential advisers and cabinet officials, and Trump's is proving to be no different.

  • Before Kushner opened shop, former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin founded Liberty Strategic Capital.

Driving the news: Affinity so far has secured just over $3 billion of verbal commitments for its debut fund, of which between 75% and 80% is closed on, per a source close to Kushner. A final close is expected within the next six months, while the firm's first deal is likely to come before the end of March.

  • The firm plans to mostly focus on U.S. growth equity deals, including focuses on fintech and health, but also will consider buyouts and non-U.S. companies. There were reports last year that Miami-based Affinity was scoping out Israeli office space, but it hasn't yet signed a lease.
  • It currently has around 20 staffers, nearly half of whom are investors. This includes partners Asad Naqvi, previously with London-based buyout firm Apis, Bret Pearlman, the former Blackstone and Elevation Partners exec who most recently was working for Josh Harris' family office.

The pitch: Like with most D.C.-to-PE pros, Kushner is, at least indirectly, pitching limited partners on contacts made during his time in political power. Particularly via his work in the Middle East, where some U.S.-based companies may want to expand.

  • "Jared's intention is for this to be his long-term opportunity and, other than the book he has coming out, he's spending most of his time on it," the source says. "He can't live his life just waiting on what [Trump] may or may not do .... People wouldn't have joined the firm if they thought Jared is going to leave in a couple years."
  • That said, Affinity's future could be complicated by a second Trump presidency. Not only in terms of deal-flow, given tech's overall hostility to Trump, but also because some of its LPs are said to be foreign sovereign wealth funds.
  • As an aside, don't be stunned if the firm's name changes — so as not to be confused with Affinity Equity Partners, a Hong Kong-based PE firm founded in 2002.

The bottom line: Kushner is setting his future course, no matter how national politics plays out.

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