Avista Adds London Office, Poaches Ex-DLJ MB Staffers

Avista Capital Partners has opened an office in London, which will be staffed by three former team members of DLJ Merchant Banking Partners. This is Avista’s first European office. The team members are: Newton Aguiar, Allen Yurko and Kunal Pandit.


Avista Capital Partners (“Avista”), a leading private equity firm, today announced it has formed Avista Capital Europe as part of its strategy to expand its European presence. Avista Capital Europe will be based in London and the firm has recruited a team of veteran private equity professionals—Newton Aguiar, Allen Yurko, and Kunal Pandit—to form the Avista office there.

Each of Avista’s new European team members come from DLJ Merchant Banking Partners (DLJMB), Credit Suisse’s private equity arm, from which Avista spun out in 2005. Mr. Aguiar will be a Partner at Avista and head the firm’s activities in Europe. Mr. Yurko joins the firm as an Industry Executive and Mr. Pandit as a Vice President.

The London office will be Avista’s third office. It currently has offices in New York, New York and Houston, Texas.

Thompson Dean, Avista’s Co-Managing Partner and Co-CEO, said, “We are excited to welcome Newton, Allen, and Kunal to Avista as we take this significant and natural step in the growth of our firm. We are very pleased with the strength of our current portfolio in Europe, and believe a permanent office and the leadership, talent, and experience of our new colleagues will enhance the ability of Avista Capital Europe to capitalize on the compelling investment opportunities we see in the European region.”

Avista’s current European portfolio includes Celtique, an exploration and production energy company based in London; ConvaTec, the global leader in specialty wound care with significant operations in Europe; Hansa Hydrocarbons, a London-based exploration and production energy company; and Nycomed, a global specialty pharmaceutical business headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland.

The Avista team has a successful track record of investing in Europe, both as part of Avista as well as during their time at DLJMB. Building upon this foundation, Messrs. Aguiar, Yurko, and Pandit will pursue controlling investments or influential minority investments primarily in European-based, growth-orientated healthcare, energy, and media companies.

Previously, Mr. Aguiar spent four years at DLJMB, where he was a Managing Director and Partner. From 1999 to 2005, he was a Partner at Triton, a leading European private equity firm, where he focused on the healthcare industry. Mr. Aguiar started his private equity career at Advent International, where he was based in London and Paris. Prior to that, he worked in the health care Investment Banking group at Alex. Brown & Sons, and for Millipore Corporation in Boston and Paris. Mr. Aguiar holds a BSc in Chemistry from McGill University in Canada and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University. Mr. Aguiar has been a Director of several successful private companies, including Nycomed, where he worked alongside Avista and where he will remain a Director.

Mr. Yurko was the European Industrial Partner at DLJMB, focused on growth-oriented industrial and business services companies. Previously, he was an Operating Partner and Director at Compass Partners. Earlier in his career, Mr Yurko spent nearly 25 years at public companies, including early management positions with Eaton Corporation and Joy Manufacturing Company. He joined the UK Industrials Group Siebe plc (London) in 1989 and became Siebe’s Chief Executive Officer in 1993. In 1998, he led the merger of Siebe with BTR to form the UK’s largest Industrials group (renamed Invensys plc) and became the first CEO of the combined Group. Mr Yurko holds a Bachelors of Business from Lehigh University and an MBA from Baldwin-Wallace College. Mr. Yurko will remain on the boards of DLJMB portfolio companies Guala Closures and Landis+Gyr.

Before spending three years at DLJMB, Mr. Pandit served as a member of the Leveraged Finance Group at Lehman Brothers in London. Prior to that, he was a member of the investment banking department at Lehman Brothers, specializing in the telecoms, media, and technology sectors. Mr. Pandit holds an M.A. and B.A. (Hons) from Cambridge University and an MBA (Hons) from Wharton Business School. He is currently a director of Guala Closures and remains actively involved with the company.

About Avista Capital Partners

Avista Capital Partners is a leading private equity firm with offices in New York, NY and Houston, TX. Founded in 2005, Avista’s strategy is to make controlling or influential minority investments primarily in growth-oriented healthcare, energy, and media companies. Through its team of seasoned investment professionals and industry experts, Avista seeks to partner with exceptional management teams to invest in and add value to well-positioned businesses. For more information, visit www.avistacap.com.