Movers & Shakers: Ex-Moelis Banker Lands at LA Boutique Greif & Co.

Felman is coming off a two-year stint as a partner and head of M&A at Cardinal Advisors

By Baz Hiralal

David S. Felman, who spent seven years at Moelis & Co. before co-founding his own boutique, has moved to a relatively bigger firm in middle market investment-banking boutique Greif & Co. He is a managing director at the Los Angeles firm that was founded in 1992 by Lloyd Greif, the former vice chairman of Sutro & Co. In keeping with trends of smaller firms landing bigger deals, Greif recently worked on the $1.3 billion sale of C.R. Laurence Co. to CRH plc.

Felman is coming off a two-year stint as a partner and head of mergers and acquisitions at Cardinal Advisors, which he co-founded with former Stanford University classmate Amitav Misra.

There, Felman landed work with American Apparel Inc. founder Dov Charney, who was trying to put together a bid to buy the clothier out of bankruptcy after he was ousted as chairman and CEO. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brendan Shannon in Delaware approved a $200 million restructuring of the company, but turned down Charney’s bid. American Apparel also reportedly lost another CEO, Paula Schneider. Charney could come back for a bid.

In a somewhat less controversial mandate while at Cardinal, Felman worked on the $50 million restructuring and partial sale of golf channel Back9Network, where the former Jamie Bosworth claims he was pushed out after a power struggle the year before the startup’s bankruptcy. Such are the made-for-TV stories of middle market investment banking.

After stints at Goldman, Sachs & Co. and the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Felman began his investment banking career at Morgan Stanley in 2000 and joined Stanford Management Co. in 2002. In 2005, he became an associate director at UBS Investment Bank, where Ken Moelis was president. Felman worked on deals, including the $30.7 billion sale of Caesars Entertainment Corp. to Apollo Global Management LP and TPG Capital LP; and on the $13.2 billion proposed leveraged buyout of Tribune Co. by real estate investor Eli Broad and Yucaipa Cos., advising Broad and Ron Burkle.

In 2007, Moelis founded his namesake boutique, where Felman was brought in as an associate before becoming a senior vice president in the M&A group and leaving in October 2014. At Moelis, Felman worked on deals, including the $10.2 billion CityCenter joint venture with Dubai World and MGM Resorts (advising Dubai World); the $2.9 billion restructuring and sale of Fontainebleau Las Vegas to Icahn Enterprises LP; a $2 billion debt financing and $1.3 billion equity offering for Air Lease Corp.; a $1.9 billion stock redemption and valuation opinion for Wynn Resorts Ltd. (which was a contested stock redemption from co-founder Kazuo Okada); and, among other deals, advised a Landry’s Inc. special committee on the $1.4 billion management buyout/take-private by Tilman J. Fertitta.

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