BRAND CONSCIOUS

Avista Capital Partners, the New York middle-market private equity firm that recently closed its debut $2 billion spinout fund, recently announced the hiring of Robin Domeniconi, an 18-year media industry veteran and noted branding expert, as a full-time consultant in the firm's media industry practice.

Domeniconi will work with OhSang Kwon and James Finkelstein, Avista media industry partners. Finkelstein is the former chairman of DLJ Merchant Banking Media Partners.

Domeniconi was most recently at Time Inc., where she was president of the media group, and before that, president, publisher and co-founder of the firm's Real Simple platform, which includes magazines, books, a television show on PBS and cleaning products sold through retailer Target.

“I never looked at it as launching a magazine,” says Domeniconi, who joined Real Simple nine months before it launched. “I said, we're going to launch a brand that's going to make women's lives easier.”

Speaking of her recruitment into Avista, Domeniconi says: “One of the things that OhSang saw was that I was able to identify brands and extend them into different platforms. When I spoke with the partners at Avista, I was impressed with how they looked at brands and platforms.”

Domeniconi says her goal at Avista is to identify new media or entertainment properties where there is a “huge potential to grow different distribution channels and platforms.”

Reflecting on brands she seeks to emulate, Domeniconi says: “I think [sports brand] ESPN is fantastic. I think Apple is amazing… It's not a matter of which medium is better, it's a matter of how you use the different mediums or distribution channels to distribute the content properly in its contextual form.”

METALMARK HIRES MORGAN STANLEY PRO
Morgan Stanley spinout Metalmark Capital has hired Fazle Husain, former Morgan Stanley managing director, to lead its investments in the healthcare sector. Husain had been at Morgan Stanley since 1987 and focused on healthcare investments since 1991. He was also a general partner of Morgan Stanley Venture Partners, which invested primarily in the healthcare and information technology sectors. He has served on the boards of more than a dozen healthcare companies including Allscripts Healthcare, Cambridge Heart and Suros Surgical.

ANSON JOINS NUVEEN BUYOUT
Mark Anson has resigned as chief executive of Hermes Pensions Management, a £72 billion ($148 billion; €107 billion) UK fund manager, in order to return to the US for personal reasons following a family illness. Anson has been hired as president of Nuveen, a Chicago-based fund manager about to be taken private by Madison Dearborn and a group of investors for $5.75 billion. Anson made his name as chief investment officer of the $250 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, the largest public pension in the US, where he increased assets under management from $127 billion to $210 billion partly as a result of increased allocations to alternative investments.

BEAR STEARNS HIRES NEW HEAD OF ASSET MANAGEMENT
Bear Stearns has hired Jeffrey Lane to head the firm's asset management division, which encompasses its private equity arm, Bear Stearns Merchant Banking, as well as its newly established placement agent division. Lane comes from Lehman Brothers, where he was chairman of the investment management division and co-head of asset management. He has also worked at Neuberger Berman, where he rose to the position of chief executive officer and chairman. Lane replaced Richard Marin, who came under fire after the collapse of two of Bear Stearns' hedge funds that had invested in risky subprime mortgage-backed securities.

CARLYLE APPOINTS NEW CFO
The Carlyle Group has hired Peter Nachtwey, former senior partner with financial services firm Deloitte & Touche, as chief financial officer. Nachtwey replaces retiring John Harris, who will continue to work with Carlyle as a senior advisor. At Deloitte, Nachtwey was lead partner on mandates involving The Blackstone Group, the firm's largest private equity client. He was also regional managing partner for the investment management sector. At Carlyle, Nachtwey takes responsibility for investor reporting, internal controls and financial management.

KKR NABS EX-MCI HEAD TO LEAD FIRST DATA
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) has brought in Michael Capellas to lead US electronic payments company First Data Corp, which KKR agreed to acquire in April for $27.9 billion (€20.3 billion). Capellas was most recently the chief executive officer of MCI, formerly Worldcom, from 2002 to 2006. Prior to that he was the chief executive of Compaq Computer Corporation until 2002, and continued as president of Hewlett-Packard Company after it acquired Compaq that year. Since 2006, Capellas has been a senior advisor to technology investment firm Silver Lake Partners. Capellas will succeed Henry “Ric” Duques, who announced his intention to retire in two years when he assumed the role of chairman and chief executive officer of First Data in 2005.

JP MORGAN CHIEF CRITICIZES EQUITY BRIDGES
Jaime Dimon, the chief executive of JP Morgan, publicly spoke out recently against the increasing provision of equity bridges for private equity deals. According to Dealogic, Dimon called equity bridges – loans provided by investment banks to help private equity firms close deals, which are then syndicated out to other investors – “a terrible idea” and “bad financial policy”. Due to the crisis in the subprime mortgage market, banks have had trouble finding buyers for these loans on the secondary market. Dimon admitted that JP Morgan had been forced to make some write downs on the loans that it has made rather than trying to sell them on in a difficult market. “It's silly to take all that downside risk and not have any upside potential,” Dimon said.

SKATTUM QUITS JP MORGAN FOR TPG
Dag Skattum has left JP Morgan, where he was global co-head of mergers and acquisitions, to join buyout firm TPG as a partner. Skattum spent more than two decades at JP Morgan, becoming global co-head in 2003. Before that, he was the head of European mergers and acquisitions among other roles. Following his departure, his role will be split between Larry Slaughter, former European head of financial sponsors, and Hernan Cristerna, previous global head of consumer M&A. The two have been appointed co-heads of the bank's M&A practice in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

THOMAS H LEE SUES REFCO LEGAL COUNSEL
Boston-based Thomas H. Lee Partners has filed a lawsuit against international law firm Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, seeking damages of at least $245 million (€180 million) in connection with the 2005 Refco scandal. Mayer, Brown represented futures broker Refco when TH Lee agreed to acquire the company for $2.25 billion in 2004. After TH Lee took Refco public in 2005, the firm discovered that Refco's chief executive officer Phillip Bennett owed the company $430 million in off-the-books receivables. The scandal eventually sunk Refco, costing TH Lee $245 million, according to a lawsuit TH Lee filed against Bennett and two other Refco executives in November 2005.