Porter hired for Mizuho PE push

Former Nomura International head of private equity David Porter has joined Mizuho Securities to launch a new private equity operation in London.

David Porter, who spent ten years at the London office of Japan’s Nomura International, is launching a new London-based private equity operation at Mizuho Securities, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mizuho Financial Group, the Japanese financial services firm.

Porter spent ten years at Nomura, initially as part of the Principal Finance division run by mercurial financier Guy Hands, where he worked on deals including the acquisition of rolling stock operator Angel Trains, which became one of Nomura’s most profitable deals when it was sold two years later. Four years ago, Porter became head of a new private equity unit at Nomura focusing on leveraged buyouts, mid-market deals and venture investments in the healthcare sector.

Of his ambitions at Mizuho, Porter told PEO: “Initially it will just be me, but I’m hoping to build a team quite quickly. Eventually we will have quite a large operation, but I would envisage the team being four or five-strong by the end of the first year.” Porter will report in his new role to Sam Barwick, Mizuho International managing director.

He added that he would initially focus on small venture capital and expansion capital deals in the UK healthcare sector, where he is most experienced. However, he anticipates targeting “three or four” other sectors depending on future hires.

Porter said he thinks he can avoid getting crushed in a crowded sector. “The case for healthcare is very strong, which unfortunately means it is also very competitive. But away from the crowd, there are good opportunities to invest in companies with a strong technical focus. I am comfortable with those kind of companies, and it’s a little less heated in that space.”

Porter said Mizuho is keen to develop its private equity and hedge fund capabilities. The group’s historic strengths include bonds, equities, derivatives trading, structured debt and M&A advisory. He added that Japanese professionals would be expected to join the London team at some point, with the aim of subsequently transferring their expertise to the Japanese market.