Duke Street hires Apax director for France

UK and French mid-market investor Duke Street Capital has bolstered its Paris office in the run-up to launching its sixth buyout fund.

London-headquartered private equity firm Duke Street Capital has appointed Didier Bismuth, formerly a director at Apax Partners France, as a partner in its Paris office.
Bismuth, 37, will join Duke Street’s French operation, headed by managing partner Frédéric Chauffier, later this month.

Bismuth: former Apax director joining DSC’s Paris office

During his 11 years at Apax Partners France, Bismuth worked on a number of mid-market investments, including the leveraged buyout of French jewellery business Histoire d’Or, exited in March of this year to PPM Capital for €230 million ($291 million); curtain retailer Heyten, acquired alongside textile retailer Mondial Tissus from the Sandinvest Group in June 2005 for €180 million; French online high-tech products retailer Rue du Commerce, which listed in September 2005; and the exit of French riding boots manufacturer Aigle in 2003.
Prior to joining Apax in 1995, Bismuth spent five years at Ernst & Young as a consultant.
In March, Duke Street’s Paris office sold its 70 percent stake in Paris-listed French drinks company Marie Brizard & Roger International to Polish vodka distributor Belvedere for €213 million. In 2005, the French team acquired Paris-based private hospitals business Groupe Proflic and sold hotel company Financière Galaxie to Paris-listed private equity group Eurazeo, both for undisclosed sums.
Duke Street is currently in the process of raising its sixth fund, the first since founder Ed Truell left the firm to set up his own business last June. The new vehicle is expected to have a similar size as its predecessor, DSC V, which raised €845 million in 2001.