Riordan Leaves L.A. Buyout Firm He Co-Founded

Times Staff Writer

Richard J. Riordan, a prominent Los Angeles lawyer, investor and restaurant owner, has resigned from Riordan Freeman & Spogli, a 5-year-old firm he co-founded that specializes in leveraged buyouts.

Riordan, 58, said Friday that his departure from the firm, which earlier this year sold its interest in Boys Markets, was prompted by philosophical differences between him and his two partners.

The reason for the resignation “is to have freedom to do transactions with which I am most comfortable,” he said. “I am more at ease with the small and medium-size transactions; Brad Freeman and Ron Spogli are more at ease with the large transactions.”

Over the last year, Riordan, a partner in the Riordan & McKinzie law firm and majority owner of the Original Pantry and Seventh Street Bistro restaurants, and other partners have pursued small acquisitions, primarily of West Coast companies costing between $5 million and $100 million. Riordan said they also plan to look for opportunities in purchasing the debt of troubled companies and funding start-up ventures.


No Sweeping Change

His partners include Chris Lewis, Michel Glouchevitch and Pat Haden, the former USC and Rams quarterback. Their new investment firm, Riordan Lewis & Hayden, owns Airdrome Inc., a Long Beach company that does sophisticated plumbing for airships and the space shuttle program; Tetra Tech Inc., a large Pasadena firm that consults on hazardous waste and pollution, and PIA, a San Gabriel Valley company that helps supermarkets make the best use of shelf space.

Freeman said Riordan’s departure is not expected to result in changes at Riordan Freeman & Spogli, except for the eventual dropping of his name.

“He has not been engaged in day-to-day activities for the last several years,” said Freeman, 46.


Riordan Freeman & Spogli recently agreed to buy Chicago-based Duff & Phelps, a 55-year-old financial services and investment rating firm, and Calmar, a City of Industry company that is the world’s largest maker of plastic pumps for consumer products.