Elysian looks to Leeds in lower mid-market push

Phil Greves has left 3i’s Manchester office to join the latest private equity venture led by Doughty Hanson founding partner Ken Terry. Greves will launch the firm’s Leeds office as it searches for lower mid-market deals.

Elysian Capital, a newcomer to the UK lower mid-market segment, has hired as a partner and investment director former 3i dealmaker Phil Greves to establish its Leeds location.

“You have to have a regional presence” to effectively target the roughly 39 percent of all mid-market deals that originate in Northern England, said Elysian chief executive Ken Terry. “A lot of private equity firms try to cover that out of London, but we find that doesn’t give you the best opportunity to cover quality transactions.”

Many private equity firms choose to open a satellite office in Manchester, and while Elysian will scout deals there, it has decided to open a Leeds location to “differentiate ourselves, rather than be one of the herd in Manchester”, Terry added.

Greves sourced buyout deals outside of London from 3i’s Manchester office, which he joined in 2004.

You have to have a regional presence.

Ken Terry

Elysian has also hired as an associate director Jack Jacovou from UK mid-market corporate advisory firm Smith & Williamson, where he focused on deals ranging from £5 million to £100 million.

Elysian was founded in January by Terry, former founding partner of Doughty Hanson, and healthcare entrepreneur and investor Chai Patel, who worked together previously on Doughty Hanson’s 2002 buyout of UK mental healthcare chain Priory Group. Patel was Priory’s CEO at the time, while Terry led the £288 million deal, which three years later gave Doughty Hanson and Priory management a 5x exit.

Patel and Terry have also in past years launched private vehicles to invest their own capital, and or that of friends and family. Patel runs Court Cavendish, which in recent months acquired UK specialty healthcare provider Care Management Group. Terry in November 2005 co-founded MST Capital with fellow Doughty Hanson alumnus Patrick Smulders and Fred Mendelsohn, co-founder of Axiomlab, an early-stage technology and alternative energy investment fund that later went public on AIM, and chairman of quoted early-stage investment vehicle Creative Capital Fund.

Terry said MST has one remaining investment that it manages, “but I am no longer investing through it as Elysian Capital superseded this”.

Elysian used its founders capital to complete its first deal in April, the management buyout of horticultural company English Landscapes. The transaction was led by Terry and Edward Brett, who was previously a director at Gresham.

Terry indicated the firm will raise a traditional private equity fund, but declined to provide any details as to whether the process has begun or what amount it might target, citing US regulatory restrictions.