Freemark Partners is the private investment firm for the Marks family.
We offer a unique alternative to traditional private equity: we invest only our own capital, and our ideal holding period is forever.
We are focused exclusively on identifying high-quality businesses and working closely with management to build them into industry leaders. We believe that great companies are created over long periods of time. We do not have outside investors, and thus we make decisions free from external influences and fund life-cycle constraints, focusing only on what is right for the business over the long term.
We know that building a business takes time, and that the path to greatness is never a straight line. We have the financial wherewithal and long-term vision to see our businesses through hurdles along the way.
Entrepreneurship and long-term investing are essential parts of our heritage.
Howard Marks is co-founder and co-chairman of Oaktree Capital Group. After 26 years at Citibank and TCW, Howard and the five managing directors who reported to him left TCW in 1995 to found Oaktree.
Over the last 23 years, he has built Oaktree into a global investment firm managing ~$100 billion with ~1,000 employees across 18 offices around the world. Oaktree has established a culture based on values such as broad employee ownership, alignment of interests, and putting clients first.
Howard is also well-known for his “Memos to Oaktree Clients,” which are widely read throughout the investing world. In 2011, at the urging of Warren Buffett, he published a book entitled The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor. It featured the following quote on the dust jacket:
When I see memos from Howard Marks in my mail, they’re the first thing I open and read. I always learn something, and that goes double for his book.
Freemark is managed by Howard’s son, Andrew, who has spent his career focused on long-term investing, and Matthew Ford, who has more than a decade of experience investing in and working closely with family-owned and entrepreneurial companies.
Our goal is to be the best partner for entrepreneurs, families, and managers who seek patient capital to build their businesses over the long term.
We think in generations, not years
We have a permanent, patient capital base, and our ideal holding period is forever. We are completely committed to long-term success, and are willing to sacrifice short-term results in pursuit of long-term goals.
We are a family company
We appreciate the many challenges faced by founders and family-owned businesses. We always emphasize doing things the right way, never compromise on integrity, and never risk our reputation or that of our companies.
We share risk and success
We invest only our own capital. We create value by building businesses, not through fees or financial engineering. We believe in a culture of ownership, where we all share in success and take results personally.
We are transparent and open partners
We believe true partnerships are defined by shared dreams, direct and honest communication, and the open exchange of ideas. We build relationships based on trust, fairness, and mutual respect.
We retain and reward great people
We believe that exceptional individuals are the foundation of every great company. We retain and reward those who contribute to our shared success. We provide an opportunity for wealth creation through rollover ownership and equity participation.
We make decisions quickly
We do not have limited partners or other external stakeholders. This frees us from fundraising and fund life-cycle constraints. We make decisions quickly, without the bottleneck of committees or bureaucracy.
What We Look For
Although there is no single formula for the type of opportunity that excites us, we seek to invest in companies with the following characteristics:
Pre-tax cash earnings > $3 million
For add-ons, revenue > $1 million
Family/founder liquidity, incl. 100% exits
Management-led buyouts and acquisitions
Significant minority investments
Headquartered in the U.S. or Canada
For add-ons, anywhere in the world
1. Family, founder or management team who values our unique approach and time horizon
2. Strong, consistent gross margins (35%+), EBITDA margins (10%+), and free cash flow
3. History of organic revenue growth and long-term growth potential
4. Value-added products or services, with clear customer benefits
5. Wide, defensible moat (brand, know-how, distribution, etc.)
Prior to Freemark, Andrew was a Managing Director at Blue Ridge Capital, a public equities-focused investment firm. At Blue Ridge, Andrew invested in companies across a wide variety of industries and geographies using a long-term, fundamental approach. Before joining Blue Ridge, Andrew was an analyst at The Blackstone Group, where he focused on private credit. Andrew graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.
Matt previously spent eight years working closely with middle-market companies at two private equity firms, Bregal Partners and ShoreView Industries. Matt started his career as a management consultant at BCG. Originally from Iowa, Matt graduated first in his class with a B.B.A. from the Henry B. Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa. He received an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with highest distinction and was the top first-year student.
JJ previously was a Director at Riverside Partners, a Boston-based middle-market private equity firm. At Riverside, JJ helped manage the firm’s intermediary relationships and evaluate new investments. Before joining Riverside, JJ spent the early years of his career at UBS and Brown Brothers Harriman. JJ holds a B.A. in Economics, cum laude, from St. Lawrence University and an M.B.A. from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
Prior to Freemark, Yifan was one of the founding members of the finance team at Driver, a cancer genomics and therapeutics startup. Yifan started his career as an Investment Banking Analyst in the Global Industrial Group at Goldman Sachs. Yifan was born and raised in Hangzhou, China, and graduated with highest distinction from the Henry B. Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa with B.B.A. degrees in Finance and Economics.