In brief top news

Thompson Dean, head of DLJ Merchant Banking, will launch an independent firm after CSFB backtracked on plans to spin out DLJ Merchant Banking. Dean’s new firm, Avista, is expected to raise a US$2bn fund and will begin operations with about 15 DLJ employees. Another 30 DLJ professionals are remaining at CSFB. They will be led by Steve Rattner and will oversee investments of the firm’s existing three funds.

  • CSFB also said it would continue fundraising for a fourth DLJ fund, although the buyout arm is moving away from large-scale deals where it would compete with other large shops. In future, DLJ will focus on co-investments, the middle market and growth capital.
  • Egeria Capital Management’s second fund held an interim close at €293m, following the start of fundraising in December. Investors in the fund include Ahold Pensioenfonds and the Brenninkmeijer family, which provided a €250m cornerstone investment. The fund will invest in Dutch companies with an enterprise value of €50m to €150m. Final close is expected in May at up to €400m.
  • Close Brothers Corporate Finance is creating a dedicated private equity advisory team under the leadership of newly-appointed coverage head, Mark Barrow. The firm’s private equity business has grown from 10% to 40% of overall business within the last three years. The new group will sit alongside Close’s existing M&A, debt and corporate restructuring advisory groups. Darren Redmayne is also joining the group as an assistant director. He has recently returned from 18 months advising private equity clients in the US at Harris Williams & Co, part of Close Brothers’ international network. Barrow, a director at Close Brothers, has eight years’ experience in advising private equity groups.
  • WestLB has created a new financial sponsor coverage group to be headed by Mark Slater. This group has been formed in recognition of the importance of financial sponsors to the bank, and creates an integrated platform incorporating the many strengths of the bank to drive value for its financial sponsor client base.
  • Carlyle and Riverstone Holdings are in the process of delisting Petroplus, the European mid-stream oil company, from the Amsterdam stock exchange. Acquisition vehicle RVIR acquired 95.05% of the share capital of Petroplus after 29.3m shares were tendered. Riverstone Holdings and Carlyle Group are the co-general partners of the Carlyle/Global Energy and Power Fund II, a US$1.1bn private equity fund established to make investments in the energy and power industry globally.
  • Woolworths, the UK retail chain that has attracted interest from Apax, is looking to sell MVC, its loss-making music and video business. The company is also shutting down some of the stores, which have been an overall drag on performance. It believes the rationalisation will make it a more attractive target to potential buyers. Woolworths has opened its books to Apax, after the firm increased its offer from £789m originally. In addition, Apax is one of several parties circling UK supermarket chain Somerfield.