JPMorgan settles with ex-Asia PE head

The bank has settled its dispute with Varun Bery, who had taken it to court in April for failing to honour an agreement allowing him to spin out the Asia private equity team.

JPMorgan has settled its dispute with Varun Bery, former managing director and head of the bank's Asian private equity business, who sued the bank in Hong Kong earlier this year for breaching an agreement.

Bery had joined JPMorgan in February 2008, when the bank had recruited the entire team of TVG Capital to create its Asian private equity group Private Capital Asia, appointing the firm's co-founders Bery and John Troy as managing directors.

JPMorgan pumped in $750 million in capital; however, Troy left three months later in May 2008.

At that time, Bery and JPMorgan agreed that if the bank terminated his employment, Bery would be entitled to form a spin-out and take with him at least 70 percent of the private equity team, according to a Bloomberg report.

In April this year, Bery filed a claim to a Hong Kong court, accusing JPMorgan of refusing to honour this spinout agreement after the termination of his employment in November 2009.
Bery sought damages of around $30.8 million, saying the bank “acting unreasonably, in bad faith and/or in breach of the express or implied terms of the amended framework agreement, failed or refused to finalise the terms” of the spinout, Bloomberg reported.

According to a joint statement announcing the “amicable resolution”, Bery will provide private equity consultancy services to JPMorgan while continuing his role as managing director and co-founder of private equity firm TVG Capital Partners.

“We recognize Mr. Bery”s significant experience, of over 15 years, as an Asian private equity investor and we wish him every success in the future,” JPMorgan said in the statement.

No further details on the agreement were disclosed and JPMorgan declined to provide additional information beyond the statement.

JPMorgan Private Capital Asia is a proprietary fund of JPMorgan and part of the bank's private equity principal investments business in New York. The fund invests across the consumer, retail and natural resources sectors, with a focus on minority investments.
Established in 1998, Hong Kong-based TVG Capital focuses on Asian mid-market investment. The firm currently manages three funds with total commitments of $700 million.