It’s all about relationships. While many firms and people in and around the private capital industry talk a big game about relationships, not everyone actually lives it. The ones who do, however, like Ned Fleming, SunTx Capital Partners’ founder, certainly seem to be rewarded. The Texas-based private equity firm’s success with platform company London Broadcasting Company (LBC) all started with a business relationship that began many years ago.
It was 1989 and Terry London, CFO of Gaylord Entertainment, was leading the company’s bid to buy Major League Baseball team the Texas Rangers. Gaylord, an owner and operator of TV stations based in Nashville, Tenn., also owned a CBS station in Dallas that was broadcasting Rangers games. London was Gaylord’s representative for the transaction and knew that owning the team would be a solid strategic acquisition.
Just before the deal was signed, another bidding group usurped it. The new group, which was headed by George W. Bush before he became president, bought the club and Gaylord settled for a 10 percent stake in the team.
Ned Fleming, an associate with investment firm Cardinal Investment Co., played an integral role in bringing the Bush-led acquisition to fruition. And although Fleming and London were on opposite sides of the table at the beginning of the negotiation, it started a professional relationship that grew into something bigger than either man could have foreseen at the time.