Schroder Ventures Europe becomes Permira

Schroder Ventures Europe has changed its name to Permira to reflect the evolution of the business as an independent entity over the years. Permira is Latin for “very surprising, very different” and reflects the group’s distinctive approach to international private equity, said Charles Sherwood, partner at the London office.

Asked why the business had decided to change its name after so long Sherwood said: “Why not? The business is a stand alone business and it was about time. The main reason we changed the name was that it was not clear that Schroder Ventures is a separate business of independent entities.” Ownership of Schroder Ventures Europe was transferred to individual partners in 1989 and the last 12 years has been a period of gradually reducing the involvement with Schroders.

Now, says Sherwood, Permira has no connection with Schroders other than a great deal of good will. “All the marketing, financial support and legal advice is handled by Permira alone. It is an independent, self-standing business and it is only right that it should have an independent self-standing brand name,” he said. Permira and Schroders will continue to work together where suitable opportunities arise.

The name change will also distinguish the business from other Schroder Ventures businesses, including Schroder Ventures Asia, Schroder Ventures North America, Schroder Ventures Life Sciences and Schroder Ventures International Investment Trust fund-of-funds business which was set up earlier this year see evcj October, page 14. They all continue to use the Schroders name, but are also independent entities. How much longer they will continue to use the name however, remains to be seen, says Sherwood.

The partners wanted to go for a name that didn’t identify with one specific culture, and Latin, as Europe’s first language reflects the firm’s pan-European focus. Huge effort has been made in creating a pan-European investment culture, said Sherwood. Permira’s team of over 100 are based in offices in Frankfurt, London, Milan and Paris. There is no head office and key meetings circulate around these bases.

The funds advised by Permira have also been renamed. Schroder Ventures European fund, which in 1997 was Europe’s first billion dollar private equity fund, is now Permira Europe I. Schroder Ventures European fund II, the EURO3.5 billion fund raised last year is now Permira Europe II. Permira’s team advises funds with committed capital of EURO6 billion. Since 1985 these funds have completed 250 private equity transactions.

Over the years, there has been a gradual emergence of independent businesses severing ties with their former parent. Permira is following in the footsteps of businesses such as Bridgepoint Capital, formerly Natwest Equity Partners and most recently HgCapital, formerly Mercury Private Equity. What these businesses demonstrate is that it is only natural to want to demonstrate an independent status with a separate brand name, said Sherwood.