Publicly-listed ISIS Equity Partners (ISISEP) has announced its plan to open an office later this year in the Yorkshire city of Leeds, headed up by Andy Lees.
The firm hopes to use the new office, which is expected to formally open this autumn, to cement its relationships with the local business community and to exploit deal opportunities in Yorkshire and North Eastern England.
“In the last few years, our deal activity in the North West has been stronger than on the other side of the Pennines,” said Andy Lees in an interview with PrivateEquityOnline. “We see no reason why this should be so, and hope that having a presence on the ground in Yorkshire will help to generate deals.”
ISISEP’s investments in the region to date have included Huddersfield-based retailer Bonmarché, Sheffield-based software provider Fretwell-Downing Informatics and Newcastle-based business services provider AssA Training & Learning. Lees said that another, as yet undisclosed, transaction is expected to close this week.
Lees joins ISISEP from a three-year stint in the Manchester office of Aberdeen Murray Johnstone. Before that he spent eight years as a director of corporate finance at Ernst & Young, where he advised on private equity transactions in the North of England.
He will be joined in the new office by James Hall, who has been responsible for developing opportunities in the Leeds market from his base in the Manchester office.
The recruitment of Lees follows the announcement last month of three new investment professionals in the firm’s London and Birmingham offices.
Former 3i executive Andrew Garside joined the new investments team in the London office. Prior to that, Richard Bucknell moved to the Birmingham new investments team from Barclays Ventures and Neil Bennet joined the London team from RBS’s corporate and structured finance team.
ISISEP currently has offices in London, Birmingham and Manchester, and employs 21 investment professionals. It is currently investing its 2003 vintage £150 million (€221 million; $273 million) third institutional LP fund and four VCTs, totalling around £200 million.
The firm is a subsidiary of F&C Asset Management, which was formed by the merger of ISIS Asset Management and F&C (Group Holdings) last October. It invests in UK companies in transactions valued at between £5 million and £75 million, and also undertakes a small number of deals in mainland Europe.
Lees is not the only Aberdeen Murray Johnstone professional whose departure has been announced this week. Sam Watkinson has left the firm’s London office to join UK lower mid-market firm Kleinwort Capital as an investment director.