In brief firms and funds

Linklaters global head of private equity Graham White resigned on March 24 along with partner Raymond McKeeve to join the London office of US law firm Kirkland & Ellis. The move will bring to an end months of market speculation surrounding White and McKeeve.

They have been at Linklaters since 2001, when they moved together from SJ Berwin.

Prior to that they were at corporate boutique Dickson Minto. White has acted for CVC Capital Partners, Apax Partners, JPMorgan and TDR Capital. McKeeve has acted for Montagu Private Equity and Permira.

  • Private equity lawyer Graeme Sloan is to move to Latham & Watkins after 15 years with Maclay Murray & Spens, whose clients included Candover and Bank of Scotland.

Separately, law firm Morton Fraser has hired Andrew Meakin, a banking and finance partner at Maclay.

  • Granville Baird Capital Partners (GBCP), the international mid-market private equity firm, is to rebrand its UK operations as Baird Capital Partners Europe. The company says the change of name reflects its increasing co-operation with Baird Private Equity in the US and China. The new UK branding will be launched on April 27. GBCP has been the European private equity arm of Robert W Baird & Co (Baird) since 1999.
  • Approximately 60 bidders – almost two-thirds of Italy’s 97-strong private equity market – expressed an interest in Star, Italy’s family owned stock cube manufacturer, which considered selling itself to private equity in 2005.

The line-up was narrowed down to three bidders, including Candover Partners, before the owners of Star decided to pull out of the process. Details of the strength of interest shown in Star emerged at an SJ Berwin-hosted seminar on the Italian private equity market on March 22. Delegates and speakers concurred that with such strong interest in certain prize assets, price was never enough, and it was necessary to “have an angle”.

  • AXA Private Equity, the funds of funds arm of the French insurer, has reshuffled its London and New York-based teams. James Pitt, head of the London office, is leaving the company, reportedly to join US rival Lexington Partners.

Pitt’s London colleague, David Hutchins, is also leaving but will remain a consultant while Barry Miller, a senior investment manager in New York, is also off. In return, Alexandre Montreax will move from Paris to the UK, while Vladimir Coles Paris and Mark Benedetti will join the New York office.