Editor’s Note – February

As we trundled through the December rush of parties and present buying, newspapers were full of reminiscences of what befell in 2005 and the start to a New Year is always an editorial mix of what went before and what’s coming. We’ve largely stuck to what’s been happening so far this year and what’s coming in this issue, and relegated the year gone by to the review supplement enclosed with this issue. Many of you will have seen this already, as it includes the awards EVCJ conferred on practitioners in the European private equity industry for outstanding work undertaken in 2005, and so was handed out to attendees at the awards ceremony in London on January 31.

A New Year is a fresh start and brings new challenges and sometimes awards seem two a penny, but there’s a very serious subtext to them, so long as the gong givers aren’t swayed by big advertisers or sponsorship deals, which EVCJ most certainly is not! Awards are incredibly important because they can reinforce the importance of a particular offering within a firm, such as banks with specialist leveraged finance departments. Being voted by market participants and an independent judging panel (as happens in the case of EVCJ’s awards) helps not only to illustrate to the market the competence of these organisations within their chosen field, but also to reinforce their achievements, and that of particular individuals, within the organisation itself. And in the case of the banks it’s probably good news, if you won, to have such an accolade conferred at the start of the year, when bonuses (March) are on the horizon and it’ll still be fresh enough in the powers that be’s minds to count towards material gain?

For advisory firms, like lawyers, accountants and corporate financiers, the upside to winning such gongs is similar, although given their client-led approach to life, the obvious gain is in marketing their wins to the clients they don’t yet have but would like to work with. GPs in private equity and venture capital firms largely profess not to care for awards; their job is done if they make their LP investors’ money and themselves at the same time. With some choosing to display more outward trappings of this success than others. But when they do get handed a gong, this scepticism slips quickly away because, big salaries, bonuses and carried interest cheques aside, we all need praise and recognition and there’s an added cache when that recognition has come from both your peers and independent market watchers, like EVCJ.

So it only remains to say congratulations to:

Advent International (Financial sponsor of the year large funds)

Graphite Capital (Financial sponsor of the year mid-sized funds)

3i (VC house of the year life sciences)

Sofinnova Partners (VC house of the year technology)

Deutsche Bank (LBO debt provider of the year)

Bank of Scotland (Mid-market debt provider of the year)

Royal Bank of Scotland (Mezzanine debt provider of the year)

Glycart (Venture realisation of the year: life sciences) funded by ABN AMRO Capital, BioMedinvest, DVC Deutsche Venture Capital, Gilde, Global Life Science Ventures, Novartis Venture Fund and Quester

Skype (Venture realisation of the year technology) funded by Bessemer Venture Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Index Ventures and Mangrove Partners

Astron (Buyout realisation by trade sale) funded by PPM Capital

MTU Aero Engines (Buyout realisation by IPO) funded by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co

Hawkpoint (Private equity advisory boutique of the year)

KPMG (Private equity accountancy firm of the year)

SJ Berwin & Clifford Chance as joint winners (Private equity law firm of the year)

Sofinnova Partners (Fundraising of the year: venture)

Montagu Private Equity (Fundraising of the year: buyouts)

Take a look in the supplement to see why they deserved to win and which firms came close.