The Blackstone Group has followed fellow buyout firms Warburg Pincus and Berkshire Capital in hiring a head to oversee its private equity financing and capital markets activities, with the appointment of former Deutsche Bank finance pro Vikrant Sawhney.
Sawhney has joined Blackstone as a managing director in the firm’s private equity group, though he already has a history with the New York-based buyout firm. As a managing director in Deutsche Bank’s financial sponsors group, he worked with Blackstone on transactions including Celanese, Cumulus Media, Houghton Mifflin, Nielsen (formerly VNU), as well as the $11 billion buyout of SunGard Data Systems.
“Vik has built a reputation as one of the leading leveraged finance professionals on Wall Street and will further enhance our private equity, client advisory and debt investment capabilities. We have worked closely with Vik through the years and are delighted to have someone of Vik’s experience and stature in this important role,” said Tony James, president and chief operating officer of Blackstone, in a statement.
Sawhney got his start in finance by way of law. Upon graduating from Harvard Law School, he worked principally on LBOs at the corporate finance department at law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Three years later, in 1998, he joined Bankers Trust in its financial sponsors group.
Sawhney joins a number of pros who are increasingly coming in-house to focus on financing activities at private equity firms. In 2005, Warburg Pincus hired Christopher Turner to lead its capital markets group and manage the firm’s commercial and investment banking relationships. Before that, Turner had focused on structured financings at Goldman Sachs.
Earlier this year, Boston-based middle-market firm Berkshire Partners hired Matthew Janchar as its director of capital markets. Janchar joined from Oak Hill Advisors, where he had managed the firm’s debt, equity and structured finance operations. Prior to that, he specialized in leveraged transactions for both privately-held and publicly-traded issuers at Goldman Sachs.