Former Axis Bank MD & CEO P J Nayak is the latest banker to join the private equity bandwagon. Advent International Corp, a leading US-headquartered global private equity group, is setting up an office in India, and has hired Nayak as an operating partner to advise on Indian investment opportunities. The firm’s Indian operations, will, however, be looked after by Georg Stratenwerth, a managing director with Advent in London.
Advent has also hired Shweta Jalan, who was till recently a director with ICICI Venture Funds Management Co, VCCircle has learned. Advent was founded in 1984 in Boston, and has raised $24 billion across funds.
“Our intention is to open an Indian office in 2010, subject to the appropriate registration in India, at which point Jalan will become a Director in the Advent International India team,” an Advent spokesperson said in an email to VCCircle on Tuesday.
Nayak’s move comes after former Citigroup India CEO Sanjay Nayar joined as India head of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co earlier this year. Another banker who tested private equity waters is Shailendra Bhandari, former CEO of Centurion Bank of Punjab. He joined as head of Tata Capital’s PE arm last year, but recently quit.
Advent is not new to India. In October 2007, Advent invested in Computer Age Management Services Ltd (CAMS), a transaction processing company providing investor record keeping services for mutual Funds and process outsourcing services to insurance companies in India. Stratenwerth and Avnish Mehra, a director with Advent based out of London, sit on the board of CAMS.
Stratenwerth, who also looks after investments in Western Europe, has 15 years of private equity experience. He joined Advent in 2003. Advent has also hired Mitesh Daga, who was earlier with Zephyr Peacock India, as an assistant director.
Advent has dedicated funds for emerging private equity markets like Central & Eastern Europe and Latin America. It has offices in 15 countries, with affiliates in a further 8 countries. The firm focuses on international buyouts, strategic restructuring opportunities and growth buyouts.
Advent is considered one of the biggest investors in the financial services sector. In one of its recent transactions, Advent formed a joint venture with US-based Fifth Third Bancorp for the firm’s merchant acquiring and financial institutions businesses in a $2.35 billion deal.
Private equity funds are keenly looking at emerging markets like India, China and Brazil as they are some of the markets witnessing rapid economic growth. Private equity majors like Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, Bain Capital and Apollo opened their India offices last year. Others like Candover and TA Associates also established India presence last year. Other big buyout funds like Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group, TPG and Apax Partners have been active in India for the last 3-4 years. More firms such as Permira and Cinven are also reportedly looking to set up India shop.