David W. Knowlton
David W. Knowlton is the founder of Three Ocean Partners. TOP was established in 2011 as an advisory and merchant banking firm. Three Ocean Partners LLC employs a “Blue Ocean” Strategy of entrepreneurial creativity in the marketplace - creating strategic success by differentiating oneself from the competition. TOP’s focus is our client’s needs and building long term relationships with them through trust, confidentiality and exclusivity.
Mr. Knowlton was previously the founder and Managing Partner of Watch Hill Partners LLC and sold the firm to FBR Capital Markets in 2009. Watch Hill Partners advised on over $30 billion in assignments and made several highly successful merchant banking investments.
Prior to Watch Hill, Mr. Knowlton successfully formed platforms at two firms that each generated over $100 million in revenue within eighteen months of inception. Mr. Knowlton was responsible for all aspects of the firms’ relationships with financial sponsors and their portfolio companies. This included M&A, proprietary deal flow and delivering the firms’ high yield corporate finance and bank finance capabilities. Mr. Knowlton helped establish new relationships, generated significant M&A revenue and developed numerous and substantial co-investment opportunities for each of his prior firms.
From December 1996 to March 1999, Mr. Knowlton established and ran Gleacher & Company’s financial sponsor efforts, as Managing Director of North American Investment Banking and Head of Acquisition Finance for NatWest Markets, the U.S. M&A and merchant banking arm of NatWest. Mr. Knowlton’s relationships among financial sponsors and their portfolio companies are both broad and deep.
Mr. Knowlton has had an extensive career on Wall Street serving the needs of CEOs, board of directors and private equity firms. He began his career with an internship with the Joint Economic Committee in Washington, DC, and then joined Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company in 1980. He held a number of positions in multinational client management and oil and gas industry lending before joining MHT’s Acquisition Finance Group in 1985. After the mergers with both Chemical Bank and Chase Manhattan Bank, Mr. Knowlton continued his position as Managing Director in Acquisition Finance, generating ideas for financial sponsor clients, co-investing with them and providing them with high yield and bank financing.
Mr. Knowlton is a graduate of Kenyon College and has served as both a trustee and head of Kenyon’s national capital campaign. He currently serves on the board of Easterly Acquisition Corp., a publically traded special purpose corporation.
Mr. Knowlton lives in Darien, CT with his wife and four children.