Palamon to open up French market

As it closes on its target cap for its next fund, London-based Palamon Capital Partners has hired Jean Bonnavion to help target opportunities in the French mid-market.

European mid-market private equity firm Palamon Capital Partners has expanded its investment team with the appointment of Jean Bonnavion.

Bonnavian: stepping up French activities

Michael Hoffman, managing partner of Palamon, said that Bonnavian, a vice president, has been brought in to strengthen the firm’s capabilities in France. “It’s not a signal of a new aggressive move into the French market, but in fulfilling our pan-European capabilities, we felt we ought to have a Frenchman on the team,” he said, adding that the team already includes two Italians, three Britons, a Dutchman, a Swede, a Spaniard and two Americans.

Hoffman added that Palamon would be stepping up its efforts to make investments in the French mid-market: “It’s the one country in Europe where we haven’t invested a lot of time or made direct investments and it does have attractive opportunities in the mid-market.”

Bonnavian joined from Bain & Company, where he worked for eight years in London and Paris as a senior consultant. While there, he performed commercial due diligence on a number of US and European private equity funds for deal opportunities in the UK and Continental Europe. He also led various corporate strategy and operational improvement projects.

The appointment takes Palamon’s investment team to twelve, including nine partners, all of whom work in the firm’s London office.

Hoffman said that the appointment would also prove useful while the company was in the process of raising its second fund. “We’ve already raised more than two thirds to three quarters of the new fund, which is targeted at €650 million [$762 million],” he said. “We’re nearing that target and will probably close early in the new year.”

Founded in 1999, Palamon Capital Partners has almost €1 billion of equity capital under management and is currently investing from its vintage 2000 €450 million fund, targeting investments of €20 million to €30 million. Hoffman added that the new increased fund size means that target investment sizes could rise to €50 million per transaction.