I-Bank Perseus Becomes Savvian –

Perseus Group, a San Francisco-based middle market investment bank, announced this month that it has changed its name to Savvian on the heels of its buyout from parent company Perseus LLC, an 11-year-old merchant bank and private equity fund management company from the East Coast.

Savvian Managing Director Mark McInerney, who, along with the firm’s eight other managing directors, completed the management buyout late last year, said the two sides are not disclosing the purchase price.

Savvian is more than changing names, however. The firm hired Chris O’Brien in late 2005 to launch an asset management arm under the Savvian umbrella. The unit will invest in “buyout stuff,” says McInerney. “And it could do later-stage deals. I don’t think we’ll be looking at earlier-stage deals.” McInerney says that it isn’t clear when Savvian will begin fundraising for its asset management business, and the firm has not disclosed a fund target.

O’Brien came to Savvian after a career in private equity that included a stint at Bass Brothers Enterprises, which is run by three brothers who turned their inherited Texas oil fortune into an investment firm. O’Brien also worked at the investment bank Robertson Stephens, where he reported to Todd Carter, who co-founded Savvian and now serves as its CEO.

Savvian changed its name-with the help of business, brand, and design consultancy Addis-to avoid customer confusion with parent company Perseus as Savvian kick starts its private equity investing. “We wanted to have our own identity,” McInerney says. (Likewise, Perseus-Soros Management, which invested in a biopharmaceutical fund for Perseus and Soros Private Equity Partners, similarly moved away from Perseus and has morphed into an independent firm called Aisling Capital, which has secured $550 million for a new fund.)

McInerney and Savvian managing director Steven Fletcher say that its investment mandate is not going to change with the new name. The bank will continue to focus on growth companies in tech, media, telecom, healthcare and consumer industries. The investment banking practice and asset management group, which O’Brien is expected to grow, will remain separate.