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Venture Notebook: Decosimo Corporate Finance origins
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Tom Decosimo

Decosimo Corporate Finance LLC, the entity formed nearly a year ago, is an investment banking company closely aligned with parent Joseph Decosimo and Company PLLC, which was formed in Chattanooga 38 years ago.

DCF CEO and Managing Director Tom Decosimo, 54, explained to VNC recently that the DCF unit represents essentially a reconsolidation of investment-banking activity under the Decosimo brand, following three years in which some Decosimo principals doubled-in-brass as investment bankers within FourBridges Capital Advisors.

Decosimo had helped form FourBridges partly in response to the evolving regulatory environment.  FourBridges was initially allied with FINRA-licensed, Chattanooga-based Brown Associates Inc. (See VNC's story about FourBridges' role in the TNInvestco context.)

Decosimo told VNC that after Decosimo execs had become licensed as broker-dealers, and after FourBridges had scored nine or more successful transactions, the Decosimo-bred executives moved to Decosimo Corporate Finance LLC.  The newest Decosimo entity provides sell-side advisory, placement of debt and equity financing and fairness opinions, mainly for closely held, private owned businesses.

Similar functions had been carried out in a Decosimo corporate-finance division, almost as far back as the company's founding in 1971, with transactions involving roll-ups among Coca-Cola bottlers, carpetmakers and acquisitions of Major League Baseball teams.

By 2006, the nature, frequency and magnitude of deals, and changing interpretations of licensing regulations, led Decosimo execs first into the FourBridges venture, and now back under the Decosimo brand. Decosimo's Advisory Services unit, meanwhile, provides business-valuation, litigation support and advisory services.

Simultaneously, and at a remove, founder-patriarch Joseph Decosimo, son Fred Decosimo and others work through their firm, Tenth Street Capital, to provide mezzanine capital for expansions, acquisitions and recaps of companies in the services, manufacturing and distribution sectors.

Two previous Tenth Street funds recruited more than $100MM.  Tom Decosimo said Tenth Street is preparing to raise a third sub-debt fund.  The parent Decosimo firm has an office in Nashville, but all DCF business is run out of Chattanooga.  ♦

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Tags: Decosimo Corporate Finance, FourBridges Capital Advisors, investment banking, Joseph Decosimo and Company, TNInvestco, Tom Decosimo, valuation

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