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Word Smith: Cerberus

Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. is an American private equity firm, specializing in distressed investing. They prey on companies in the weakest financial position and swoop in to see what they can find. In the process they help themselves aplenty to the available assets, diving in to cut up the pieces and stave off hunger. To be fair, they more often than not give the distressed company a capital infusion that becomes a financial lifeline to help the company to survive to see another day. They can offer these indebted companies a new lease on life.

The firm is based in New York City, and it is run by Steve Feinberg, who co-founded Cerberus in 1992 with William L. Richter, who serves as a senior managing director. Cerberus Capital has approx. $50 billion in assets under management (2019) with plans to keep growing.


Why would an investment company name itself after the three-headed hound of Hades? That’s right, it is the cursed animal that guards the gates of hell?

The Brand:

Their brand is a Yale blue square. The image is gouged with a three-clawed swipe which slices the square down from one corner to the other. The claws leave their intended victim maimed, if not dead.

The Afterthought:

The image seems strange, but so it goes in the dog-eat-dog of Wall Street. Upon further reflection, in this zero-sum world, separated by winners and losers, maybe the name is not so strange after all. The wolves and hellish beasts of our capitalist system are alive and well in New York City, London, and around the world, swiping their cutting claws and chomping with their serrated teeth at anything in their path. Such is capitalism.

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