The Buzz: investment partners who target the middle

By Thomas Heath
Monday, February 14, 2011

Veteran dealmakers John Allen and Susan Gabay have formed McLean-based Bluestone Capital Partners, an investment bank focusing on middle-market companies in the aerospace, defense and information technology sectors.

"There's a very well capitalized and established set of buyers in the marketplace who are looking for ways to continue to grow their businesses in tighter budgetary environments," Allen said. "That's the space where I have worked for the last 17-plus years."

With the Defense Department not encouraging consolidation among the defense industry giants, Allen said the real opportunities will be among mid-sized companies with revenue between $25 million and $500 million.

"We will focus on the middle-market transactions because that's where the bulk of the activity is going to be," said the banking veteran.

Allen, who was a co-owner of Reston-based Windsor Group and president of Los Angeles-based Quarterdeck Investment Partners, will be chief executive. Gabay, former senior vice president of BBT Capital Markets/Windsor who also worked for Goldman Sachs in New York, will be managing director.

Bluestone expects to announce the hiring of a number of aerospace and defense veterans in the next few weeks.

Allen, 44, has been involved in more than 100 mergers and acquisitions, including deals involving General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, ManTech, SAIC and the Carlyle Group. Windsor Group was acquired by BB&T Corp. in 2005.

Gabay, 34, was a senior vice president with BB&T Capital Markets/Windsor Group, where she was involved in more than 30 mergers and acquisitions.

Terk tech

About 20 local techies and media types gathered last Thursday at Ming's restaurant in downtown D.C. for Terk Tech, the quarterly meet-up organized by venture capitalist Ralph Terkowitz, former chief technology officer at The Washington Post.

Attendees included LivingSocial president and co-founder Tim O'Shaughnessy, Invision Chief Information Officer Dwight Gibbs, Georgetown University visiting professor in Internet studies Michael R. Nelson and former AOL-Time Warner chief technology officer William J. Raduchel.

The discussion ranged from AOL's purchase of the Huffington Post to Facebook's $50 billion valuation to the future of television.

Raduchel, who has been working with the national advisory board of the Salvation Army for nine years, discussed the challenges of getting people under the age of 30 to give to charity.

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