Side Letter: Navab returns, 40 under 40, Abraaj in court

Once among the contenders to head up KKR, Alex Navab is back with ambition. Here’s today's brief, for our valued subscribers only.

Just happened

Navab wants to go big

Alex Navab (pictured), formerly Americas head at KKR, has unveiled his new firm. Navab was among the potential leaders for KKR, but left when his peers Joseph Bae and Scott Nuttall were elevated to the co-president roles. The bench for his new venture includes four partners drawn from Carlyle, Warburg Pincus, The Baupost Group and Deloitte.

Some notes:

  • Navab Capital Partners describes itself as having “corporate philanthropy as a key component of its mission” and has established a philathropic foundation to “supply financial and human capital to its initiatives”. It doesn’t go into more detail, but among the MDs in the new line up is Georgia Keohane, social enterprise professor and former executive director of Bill Ackman’s foundation. Keohane is Navab’s ESG head and president of the philanthropic foundation.
  • Navab plans to raise $3 billion for its debut fund (WSJ, paywall), which would make it the largest private equity fund debut ever.
  • It “will specialise in private equity investing across upper mid-cap to larger enterprises in North America and will seek to build better businesses by incorporating growth-oriented and value creating initiatives”, in the firm’s own words.

Rising star gazing

The Future 40, our first-ever rising stars list, includes 10 investors, 10 dealmakers, 10 fundraisers and a smattering of operations professionals and lawyers. Who’s made the grade? You’ll have to wait until 1 May to find out, but we are putting the finishing touches to the list and it includes one of private equity’s “top athletes”, according to his peers, and a dealmaker who “could one day rank among the likes of industry pioneers Henry Kravis and Jeremy Coller”.


Abraaj behind bars. Former Abraaj managing partner Sev Vettivetpillai was in court (via video link from prison) last Thursday facing extradition to the US on charges of fraud, days after the arrest of former chief executive Arif Naqvi and managing partner Mustafa Abdel-Wadood. The judge offered £1 million bail with several conditions attached as Vettivetpillai’s father and two friends looked on. Vettivetpillai is appealing these conditions and will remain in Wandsworth prison until his appeal is heard, probably this week.

Carry on up. Investors are “unsettled” by the late-cycle phenomenon of “super carry” on PE funds run by high performing managers, says the FT (paywall).

LP meetings. It’s Tuesday, so here are some LP meetings to watch out for this week.

Dig deeper

Want more data? There are more than 6,700 institutions in our database, including AbraajKKR and others from today’s Side Letter.

They said it

“Several secondary funds have raised so much capital that, with use of leverage and assistance from co-investors, they could easily acquire multi-billion portfolios without breaching any concentration limits that may have historically hindered outsized purchases”

Advisory firm Campbell Lutyens hints at secondaries deals of record-breaking size in the year ahead in its 2019 Secondary Market Overview Report.

We would love your feedback to help us make this newsletter more useful; click here to give us your opinion.

Today’s letter was prepared by Toby Mitchenall and Isobel Markham

Subscribe now and get Side Letter delivered to your inbox each day

To find out how, email, or call our team:

London: +44 207 566 5432
New York: +1 646 545 6296
Hong Kong: +852 2153 3140