Riverside opens first Australian office

The mid-market firm, which opened its first Asian office in 2007, has set up its fourth regional office in Melbourne.

The Riverside Company, a global mid-market investor, has opened its first Australian office in Melbourne. The office, the firm's fourth in the Asia Pacific region, will be focused on finding and evaluating mid-market opportunities in Australia.

Riverside's other Asian offices are located in Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo.  

The Melbourne office will be headed by partner Simon Feiglin, who was formerly based in Riverside’s Cleveland office. Feiglin joined Riverside in 2007 and has been working closely with Riverside's Asian team since 2008, the firm said. He has also worked with the Riverside Micro-Cap Fund, which focuses on smaller LBO deals. 
Stewart Kohl, Riverside CEO, attributed the firm's decision to open an office in Australia to the country’s well developed capital market which understood private equity “very well”. 
“We have spent the last 18 months developing our deal pipeline in Australia and have been impressed with the large number of high-quality, privately owned businesses which are available for sale,” Riverside Asia fund manager Stu Baxter said in a statement.
The firm will invest in Asia from Riverside Asia Fund I, which is targeting commitments of $100 million and saw a first close on $25 million in September 2008. Riverside focuses on investments at the smaller end of the middle market and typically likes to assume control positions. The firm’s initial focus in Asia will be on the more mature economies of Japan, Korea, Australia and Singapore.
Riverside Asia Fund I has made three investments thus far. It completed its maiden investment in February 2008 in Shinsouki, a Japanese parking lot operator with more than 3000 lots. The firm subsequently acquired Wiz Korea, a preschool education franchise in South Korea. Most recently, in April 2009, the fund invested in MAOS, another Japanese parking lot operator and an add-on acquisition for Shinsouki. 
The sizes of the three investments were undisclosed, although Riverside typically invests between $15 million to $100 million per transaction. 
It has two Australian companies under binding purchase agreements and another Japanese platform company under Letter of Intent, the firm said. 

The firm currently employs 185 employees worldwide with about 10 focused on Asia. Since its founding in 1988, the firm has invested in 226 transactions with a total enterprise value of $5 billion.