Lewis Byrd, a partner in the private equity firm Opportunity Capital Partners, is managing a number of interconnected issues. First, in his role as investment professional responsible for the firm's investment in a doghouse manufacturing company called Dogloo, he has to manage a relationship with an entrepreneur who has behaved in a way that has made coinvestors nervous about his skills as a CEO. The CEO, Aurelio Barretto, is a Cuban immigrant who has established a close confiding relationship with Byrd, who is an African American. Barretto has increasingly relied on Byrd to run interference for him with investors, while also providing the strategic advice that typically supports an investor-entrepreneur relationship. Another issue is that there is a potentially costly lawsuit looming involving copyright infringement by a larger, well-funded competitor in the pet products market. Byrd has to manage potentially volatile relationships while determining what's best for his firm from an investment standpoint and how best to advise Barretto to proceed. The case provides insights into the challenges in private equity investing that occur after the striking of the financial deal. The case also provides information for students about the technical and legal structure of private equity financing.
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