Cognetas rebrands as Motion Equity Partners

European buyout firm Cognetas, whose co-founder Nigel McConnell left last year, has re-branded as Motion Equity Partners.

The firm formerly known as Cognetas has re-branded as Motion Equity Partners in a bid to dissociate itself from the negative publicity that has dogged the firm over the past few years, according to market sources.

Motion confirmed the rebranding in a statement released to investors last week.

The firm’s investment team is substantially smaller in its new guise compared to a year ago, following the closure of its Frankfurt office and the reduction of its London operation to a purely administrative function.

Motion has rebalanced to focus on the French and Italian markets, where the majority of its remaining seven portfolio companies are based.

Patrick Eisenchteter, managing partner, now leads the firm from its Paris headquarters, which is also home to partner Cédric Rays, associate Anthony Baudoin and analyst Benjamin Pitoun.

In Milan, partner Maurizio Bianco leads the firm’s Italian team, which also comprises principal Giovanna Voltolina and investment manager Stefano Migoliorini.

Nigel McConnell, Cognetas’ former managing partner and founder, parted company with the firm last year due to “strategic differences”, but is still listed as a partner on Motion’s website due to his ongoing financial interest in Cognetas’ last fund. 

Jonathan Musselwhite and Charles St. John, both of whom were involved in the Cognetas spin-off from Electra in 2005 alongside McConnell, also left the firm as a result of the restructuring.

Motion manages Cognetas Fund II, which has about €200 million in un-deployed capital left to invest from its original €1.25 billion pool. Its seven remaining portfolio companies include petrol pump business Tokheim, the sale of which was pulled last year after offers failed to meet the firm’s pricing expectations.

Managing partner Eisenchteter said in a statement: “We are starting a new chapter in the life of our fund. Having received the backing of our investors to move forward, we are now focussed on our existing portfolio and, in due course, will focus on making new investments. This is an exciting event for the team.”