Investcorp hires former Bertelsmann chief

The Bahrain-based private equity group has appointed Thomas Middelhoff, the former Bertelsmann chief executive, who will become head of European corporate investment.

Investcorp, the private equity firm with offices in London, Bahrain and New York, has named Thomas Middelhoff head of its European corporate investment team.


Middelhoff, the former chief executive of German media group Bertelsmann, left the company last year, reportedly falling out with the company’s owners over plans to seek a public listing in 2005.


Middelhoff will report to Chris O'Brien, global head of Investcorp's private equity business. According to a company source, the appointment ends a nine-month search for a head of Investcorp’s European operations, a new position created by the company last year.


The source says the European team will look to make mid-market, non-sector specific investments. Despite Middelhoff’s appointment, the firm is not expected to make significant inroads into the TMT markets, although Investcorp’s most recent investment in Europe was an investment in German wireless communication test equipment manufacturer Willtek Communications.


According to the Financial Times, Middelhoff commented: “When I left Bertelsmann I had three options: number one was private equity; the second was a similar corporate role at Bertelsmann, but it should be in TMT and international; and the third was a collection of board seats, but I am too young for that.”


During his spell at Bertelsmann between 1998 and July 2002, Middelhoff led the business through a major expansion that turned the German publisher into one of the world's largest media companies. He bought Random House Inc and added the likes of Britney Spears to the BMG music unit. He left the company following a power struggle with Bertelsmann’s controlling family shareholder.


During its 20-year history, Investcorp has invested in more than 90 deals with an aggregate value of around $20bn. Earlier this week, the firm sold Jostens, a US educational memorabilia company, to CSFB Private Equity for $1.2bn.