Providence's Asia team suffers another departure

Patrick Corso has stepped down from the firm’s Hong Kong office, Providence’s fourth senior-level departure in the region since 2008.

Patrick Corso, an Asia-based managing director at US private equity firm Providence Equity Partners, has left the firm, a source within Providence confirmed to Private Equity International. 

No one at the firm was available to offer more information by press time and his reasons for leaving remain unclear.
However, Corso is reportedly the fourth senior executive to leave the firm’s Asia practice since 2008. He joined Providence’s London office in 2003, having spent almost three years at Credit Suisse, and relocated to Hong Kong in 2008.

His departure comes shortly after Providence opened its Beijing office and exited its stake in online video platform iQiyi via a trade sale to Chinese search engine giant Baidu, according to an earlier company statement. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. 

Providence has invested in seven companies in Asia since 2006, totaling $1.6 billion, PEI reported earlier, having set up offices in Hong Kong and New Delhi in 2007. The firm has historically only invested in the region from global funds, however it recently launched an RMB fund to access opportunities in China. 

In November 2012, Hangzhou Municipal Finance Bureau, Hangzhou Financial Investment Group and Providence Equity Partners held a signing ceremony to mark a strategic cooperation to establish Providence RMB Equity Investment Fund, according to PEI’s Research & Analytics division. 

Providence plans to further cultivate the domestic market and identify and support local firms with strong growth potential

Tao Sun, managing director, Providence Equity Partners in Beijing

The fund’s target size has not been disclosed, but it will invest in sectors including telecommunications and media within Hangzhou. As of May 2013 the vehicle had not held a close.

Following the iQiyi exit, Providence managing director Tao Sun, formerly a partner at emerging markets firm Actis, said, “Providence plans to further cultivate the domestic market and identify and support local firms with strong growth potential.”

Founded in 1989, Providence Equity Partners is a private equity firm focused on the media, communications, education, and information sectors. Since its inception, the firm has invested in over 130 companies globally. 

As of February 2013, the firm is raising its latest private equity investment vehicle, Providence Equity Partners VII, which has a target size of $5 billion. The fund is expected to hold its final close by June, according to PEI’s Research & Analytics division. In addition to Asia, it has offices in Rhode Island, New York and London.