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OC Insider: Wall Street Love

Wall Street heavyweights remain big backers of public companies in OC.

That was certainly the case for Irvine’s CG Oncology, whose stock (Nasdaq: CGON) popped on Jan. 25, its first day of trading, putting its valuation over $2B. It marked the biggest debut for a domestic IPO this year.

The listing puts the company, with a little more than 60 employees and HQ and lab space totaling just 1,249 square feet in the area, in rare local territory. Only about 20 companies headquartered here currently count valuations over $2B.

Goldman Sach’s affiliation with the company no doubt sold the upstart cancer drug developer to the masses; Goldman and Morgan Stanley helped underwrite the deal, and CG Oncology director Simone Song, the company’s largest individual shareholder, was previously the head of healthcare investment banking for Greater China for Goldman.

See Peter J. Brennan’s story on this page for more on CG Oncology’s IPO.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley also helped underwrite the blockbuster 2021 IPO for Rivian Automotive (Nasdaq: RIVN), which raised nearly $13.7B for the EV maker.

CG Oncology CEO Arthur Kuan can add one age-related highlight to his résumé; at 33, he’s currently the youngest CEO for a public company based in OC valued at more than $2 billion.

Second youngest is Rivian’s RJ Scaringe, who’s 41. The CEO of OC’s most valuable public company, Chipotle Mexican Grill’s Brian Niccol (NYSE: CMG), is 46.

Wall Street heavyweights also remain big backers of private companies in OC.

Blackstone (NYSE: BX), the world’s largest alternative asset manager, on Jan. 24 said it had made a strategic minority growth investment in Irvine’s Salas O’Brien, the fast-growing engineering and technical services firm.

Terms of the deal weren’t announced; Salas O’Brien said it will continue to be majority owned by its team members. Funds from Blackstone will help accelerate the company’s continued expansion within the architectural, engineering, and construction market, it said.

“Blackstone’s investment helps us gain greater access to talent, enhances our technology resources, and helps us better serve more clients,” said Darin Anderson, chairman and CEO of Salas O’Brien.

“The fact that we can do all of this while retaining our employee ownership approach and in partnership with the incredible professionals at Blackstone is an amazing validation of our team’s hard work—and positions us to get even better.”

Salas O’Brien ranked No. 1 on the Business Journal’s latest list of Fastest-Growing Large Private Companies in OC, with a two-year growth rate of 180%. It reported $487M in sales for the 12-months ending June 30, 2023.

“As more companies and institutions pursue their decarbonization, energy transition, and critical infrastructure goals, Salas O’Brien’s expertise has never been more needed in the world,” Anderson said.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.
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