DUBENS' LATEST VENTURE

When Peter Dubens met with PEI, he had a splitting headache. Small wonder. The man has a lot on his mind. As befits a serial entrepreneur who has made buying, consolidating and selling companies his life's work, he has now launched an institutional mid-market buyout fund.

Dubens is still executive chairman of telecoms group Pipex Communications and director of Palmer Capital Associates, a hedge fund capital-raising business which he co-founded in 2001 and Oakley Multi Manager, a Bermuda-based fund of hedge funds, which he also co-founded.

True to form, he has given private equity his own twist to allow some of the institutions, which have backed him in his public company dealings, access to his limited partnership buyout fund.

Oakley Capital Investments floated in August on the UK's AIM market to create an evergreen feeder for a traditional partnership. A small but select group of institutions took positions. Invesco is the largest investor with a 25 percent stake, while US hedge funds Moore Capital and Kingdon Capitol Offshore own another 10 percent each.

Two months later, the company held a first close of its institutional buyout fund on €140 million ($198 million), committing unspecified proceeds from the £100 million (€144.5 million) float alongside external investors and about £12 million from Dubens' team.

Dubens, the former chairman of 365 Media Group – which he helped build before its sale to broadcaster BSkyB – is targeting a final close of €550 million through a private placement advised by Atlantic Pacific Capital.

It is all a far cry from the entrepreneur's first million, which he made aged 22 selling T-shirts which reacted to heat and changed colour. He sold more than $26 million worth of the T-shirts in the first year and went on to sell the business to textiles outfit Coats Viyella, where he met then-chairman Sir Harry Djanogly.

Djanogly is now an adviser to Oakley Capital Investments as is Lord Wolfson, the former Great Universal Stores chairman.

Dubens is confident deal flow will be strong in Oakley's sweetspot of between €30 million to €140 million. And if a deal falls outside that range, his friends in high places have additional capital ready for him to deploy

That should be a weight off his mind. Or failing that, some aspirin might do the trick.

BVCA APPOINTS NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE
Simon Walker has joined The British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) as its chief executive. His appointment ends the uncertainty since his predecessor Peter Linthwaite resigned after a mauling in front of the UK Treasury Select Committee this summer. Walker has been senior adviser to the chairman and chief executive of the Reuters Group since 2003. His skills as a communicator will be put to the test as the industry body lobbies on behalf of the disparate constituencies it represents. He is also a member of the Better Regulation Commission, an independent body established by the UK government in 2005. Its role includes vetting departmental plans to reduce red tape. His appointment coincides with the industry's own attempt to stave off regulatory scrutiny with a voluntary code of governance to increase disclosure and transparency under the aegis of the BVCA chief executive's namesake Sir David Walker. Before Reuters, Walker's career included spells as communications secretary to HM The Queen, director of corporate affairs at British Airways, and a member of the Downing Street Policy Unit. He was also a partner at Brunswick, the communications consultancy.

PALLEY STANDS DOWN AT BC PARTNERS
Simon Palley, one of BC Partners' eight managing partners, is leaving the European buyout group. Palley, who was closely associated with previous fundraising success, is retiring aged 50 after 17 years at the firm. The split, according to a spokesman for the firm, is amicable and Palley will remain on the board of two recently acquired portfolio companies: Swedish equipment maker Dometic and Greek casino chain Regency Entertainment. The firm has always prided itself on the collegiate nature of its culture. All decisions require a unanimous vote by the managing partners. The two remaining managing partners in BC's London office are Stefano Quadrio Curzio and Raymond Svider, who led the firm's largest buyout with the $16.4 billion (€12.1 billion) acquisition of satellites operator Intelsat in June just before the debt markets seized.

CAPMAN UNVEILS REORGANISATION
Capman, the Nordic private equity and real estate investor, has appointed five new members to its management group. Kaisa Arovaara joins the group, while gaining promotion to chief financial officer. Arovaara joined Capman as deputy chief financial officer last year. Torben von Lowzow also joins the group having been recruited as a partner and member of Capman's buyout team in Denmark. Also joining the group are: senior partner Kai Jordahl, deputy head of the buyout team; group human resources director Hilkka-Maija Katajisto; and legal counsel Martti Timgren. Meanwhile, Capman has announced two new business units for investor services and internal services. The former unit is headed by partner Jerome Bouix and has responsibility for the group's fundraising, fund administration, investor relations, communications and product development. The latter is headed by Arovaara and has responsibility for group finance and administration as well as IT and office functions.

HGCAPITAL BEEFS UP RENEWABLES TEAM
HgCapital, the European private equity firm, has boosted its dedicated renewable energy team along with a number of internal promotions. Jean Perarnaud and Jens Thomassen have joined as associate directors, bringing the total number of investment professionals in the team to five. In addition, Emma Tinker, one of the founding members of the team, has been promoted to director and Rob de Laszlo has been promoted from associate to associate director. Perarnaud joins HgCapital from ING Bank in Amsterdam, where he was vice president in the project finance team and worked on several transactions across Europe both in the renewable and conventional energy sectors. Thomassen joins from GE Energy Financial Services where he spent a decade in business development and investment in the energy industry. Before GE he worked at BHP Billiton and Enron.

BROOKS BACK AT LDC
LDC, the captive mid-market buyout arm of UK bank Lloyds TSB, has welcomed back Peter Brooks, a former managing director of investor network Pi Capital, as a director in its London office. Reporting to Tim Farazmand, LDC's regional managing director for London, Brooks is returning to LDC where he worked almost 20 years ago. Most recently Brooks worked at Pi Capital, a high net worth investor network, which he joined last July as managing director and partner. Before Pi he spent seven years at Sovereign Capital, where he was managing partner. Senior partners Andrew Hayden and Ryan Robson took over Brooks' responsibilities at Sovereign Capital following his departure in October 2005.

DUKE STREET HIRES OPERATING PARTNER
Duke Street Capital, a European mid-market private equity firm, has appointed Thierry Paternot as its eleventh operating partner. Paternot will specialise in consumer facing businesses. Paternot is currently president of Stanley Tools, Europe, a specialist tools company with over 4,000 employees and 13 factories. He was previously the chief executive of Facom in Paris, before its acquisition by Stanley Europe in January 2006. Before Facom, Paternot was chairman of the board of Reemtsma in Germany, the world's fourth-largest cigarette manufacturer. He previously spent 22 years at L'Oréal, during which time he was managing director of Germany, France and Southern Europe. Duke Street works closely with its management teams and operating partners to support its model of value creation through operational change.

DIGITAL MEDIA EXPERT JOINS GMT
European communications specialist GMT Communications Partners has recruited Natalie Tydeman as an industry advisor. Tydeman's appointment is part of a wider attempt by GMT to bolster its digital media expertise, according to Jeff Montgomery, managing partner at GMT. Tydeman joins GMT from Fremantle Media where she was senior vice president of business diversification. GMT said in a statement that the start-ups, joint ventures and acquisitions that Tydeman worked on generated more than a six times return on investment overall. Before joining Fremantle Media in 2003, Tydeman was a managing director at the online and interactive department of entertainment company Fox Kids Europe, director of business development at non-fiction company Discovery Communications Europe and part of the start-up team for Excite Europe, an internet portal.