Wells Fargo sells stakes in legacy Norwest units in $2B deal

Burl Gilyard, Star Tribune on

Published in Business News

Wells Fargo & Co. sold off $2 billion in private equity investments that it has held since its 1998 merger with Minneapolis-based Norwest Corp. bank.

"With this transaction, we are continuing with our strategic efforts to focus on Wells Fargo's core businesses and customers," said Mike Santomassimo, Wells Fargo chief financial officer, in a statement.

Norwest Equity Partners (NEP) and Norwest Mezzanine Partners, the groups sold by Wells Fargo, are both based in Minneapolis.

The Norwest assets are being acquired by a buyer group including Adams Street Partners, Carlyle Group subsidiary AlpInvest Partners, Atalaya Capital Management, Hamilton Lane, Lexington Partners, Pantheon, Pomona Capital and Unigestion.

The two firms will now operate as one combined entity: Norwest Capital Advisors.

"We have considerable momentum as we move into the future as Norwest Capital," said Tim DeVries, managing partner for Norwest Capital, in a statement.


Founded in 1961, Norwest Equity Partners is a well-known middle market firm that makes investments in the range of $30 million to $250 million. It's the oldest private investment firm in the Twin Cities.

NEP invests nationally but has held stakes in many Minnesota companies.

In April, NEP sold Minneapolis-based Eyebobs, an eyewear company, to Cleveland-based Blue Point Capital Partners.

In June, NEP announced it struck a deal to sell Little Canada-based Bix Produce, a food distributor, to Houston-based Sysco Corp.

Wells Fargo will continue to be involved in Norwest Venture Partners, a venture capital investment firm based in Palo Alto, California.

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