Middle Market PE: Finding Gems in a Crowded and Competitive Environment

A shortage in quality assets combined with increased competition has led to valuations hitting decade highs over the past year. As the fundraising climate continues to improve, there will be a growing pool of capital chasing fewer quality opportunities. Private equity investors will discuss the techniques and strategies they are utilizing to maintain and grow returns in an increasingly competitive environment.


Jason Kelly

Managing Editor, Bloomberg LINK

Jason Kelly is the managing editor of Bloomberg LINK, overseeing content for the firm’s global conference business. He’s the author of The New Tycoons: Inside the Trillion Dollar Private Equity Industry That Owns Everything, the product of five years leading Bloomberg’s coverage of the private equity business. He’s also a frequent contributor to Bloomberg Television. During his tenure at Bloomberg, he’s written about issues ranging from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to economic development during the war in Afghanistan. Prior to joining Bloomberg in 2002, he was the editor in chief of digitalsouth magazine, a publication focused on technology and finance in the Southeast and Texas.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.



Jeff Barber '01

Managing Director, TA Associates

Jeff Barber is a Managing Director at TA Associates, with a focus on investments in consumer products, retail, education and other services companies. Prior to TA, he worked at Weiss Peck & Greer, Vestar Capital Partners, and Morgan Stanley in the Global Power and Utilities Group. Jeff currently serves on the board of directors of Cath Kidston, Dymatize Enterprises, Full Sail, The Los Angeles Film School and Vatterott Educational Centers.

He has a BA with all University and Departmental Honors in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University as well as an MBA, with Honors, Beta Gamma Sigma Scholar from Columbia Business School. He is a trustee of Johns Hopkins, Member of the Dean's Advisory Board of the Johns Hopkins University Kreiger School of Arts and Sciences and is the chairman of the Private Equity Advisory Board at Columbia University Business School.


Stratton R. Heath III '95

Partner, Oak Hill Capital Partners

Stratton R. Heath, III is a Partner of Oak Hill Capital Partners, L.P. and serves as the firm’s Capital Markets Partner. He is also a senior financial advisor to Robert M. Bass, including being Chief Financial Officer for Keystone Group, L.P. Mr. Heath joined Oak Hill in 2002 following a fifteen year career with affiliates of The Bank of New York where he founded and managed a sponsor leveraged finance business and a private equity and mezzanine principal investment business

Mr. Heath received a B.S. degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Colorado at Boulder Leeds School of Business and an M.B.A. degree from the Columbia Business School, where he received the Award for Excellence.


Andrew Taub '96

Senior Partner, Catterton Partners

Mr. Taub is a Senior Partner at Catterton Partners. Mr. Taub joined Catterton in 1996 and has previously served as a Vice President and Principal prior to becoming a Partner in the firm. Mr. Taub has helped capitalize and grow over a dozen consumer companies across multiple verticals including restaurants, retail, food and beverage and marketing services. Prior to joining Catterton, he spent three years as Vice President of Nantucket Holding Company, a merchant bank specializing in the acquisition and management of troubled companies, as well as the consolidation of fragmented industries. Previously he worked in Mergers and Acquisitions at Dean Witter Reynolds and Coopers & Lybrand.

Mr. Taub received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.


Alan Wilkinson '84

Partner, AEA Investors LP

Alan Wilkinson joined AEA as a Managing Director in 1989. He currently co-heads the AEA Small Business Fund and is a Partner of the AEA Middle Market Fund. Mr. Wilkinson currently serves on the Board of Directors of nine AEA portfolio companies, primarily in the industrial products and business services sectors. Mr. Wilkinson left AEA in 1999 and joined Peter Solomon Company, a boutique M&A and restructuring firm. He returned to the private equity business in 2002 with Saratoga Partners and rejoined AEA in early 2004. Prior to joining AEA, from 1984 to 1989, Mr. Wilkinson was with Lehman Brothers, first in the Mergers and Acquisitions department and then with the Principal Investment group.

Mr. Wilkinson received an MBA from Columbia University and a BSc (First) in Mathematics from King's College London. He became a Chartered Accountant in England in 1980.