A team of Paris-based turnaround specialists has raised €150 million for a debut fund targeting special situations in the French mid-market. Perceva Capital, founded in late 2007, is led by Jean-Louis Grevet, a former partner at rival Parisian turnaround firm Butler Capital Partners.
Grevet is joined by three other partners, two of whom – Christophe Ambrosi and Franck Kelif – are also ex-Butler turnaround specialists. The remaining partner, Xavier Lépine, joined Perceva having built up experience at Park Square Capital, Citadel and MezzVest among other places.
When Perceva was set up in 2007 it was solely sponsored by Japanese bank Nomura. The firm set out to pursue both equity investments and distressed debt loan-to-own deals, in which the lender to a company converts its debt into equity during a restructuring. In 2008 the firm decided that loan-to-own in the context of the French legal structure was not a viable strategy, so the firm settled on pure private equity investment.
The decision to raise external capital from sources other than Nomura was partly driven by incoming global regulation which will push banks to hold less private equity on their balance sheets. “It was important for us to seek non-bank capital in the long-term,” said Grevet in a telephone interview.
Nomura remains a limited partner and is joined in Perceva’s first fund by fund of funds group Adams Street Partners and French state-owned institution the Caisse des Dépôts. Other limited partners were not named, but Grevet said a third of the commitments had come from French institutions, a third from the US with the remainder split between Asia and the rest of Europe.