Ospraie Management

Exclusive: John Duryea leaving Ospraie

June 20, 2012: 10:18 AM ET

Veteran private equity pro spinning out of Ospraie Management.

FORTUNE -- John Duryea has decided to hang his own shingle, Fortune has learned. The result will be a new private equity firm called Blue Road Capital, which soon will begin raising money buy companies involved in the agriculture and commodities supply chain. Expect the fund target to be sub-$1 billion -- likely between $500 million and $750 million -- although books have not yet been printed.

For the uninitiated, Duryea is a Goldman Sachs merchant banking alum who helped co-found Ripplewood Holdings in 1995. Ten years later, he joined hedge fund manager Ospraie Management to launch a $1.2 billion private equity fund that focused on investments across basic industries and commodities. That fund, called Ospraie Special Opportunities, recently had a big hit by agreeing to sell commodities management company Gavilon to Japan's Marubeni Corp. for $5.6 billion (including $2 billion of assumed debt). It had led the acquisition of Gavilon four years earlier, via a carve-out from ConAgra Foods, for just $2.8 billion ($2.2b in cash).

Now Duryea is spinning out from Ospraie, and taking his team with him. Currently that means four senior professionals, with plans to add more junior staff.

I'm told that it's an amicable parting, partially born of Ospraie's desire to remain focused on its core absolute-returns business. Blue Road will continue to manage out existing Ospraie Special Opportunities portfolio companies, while Ospraie will provide Blue Road with deal-flow and have some minority economics in the new fund.

An Ospraie spokesman declined to comment.

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