PAI Forms Akkadia

LONDON (Reuters) – French private equity firm PAI partners said on Wednesday it has set up a venture with former Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) banker Philippe Guez to take minority stakes in listed mid-cap companies.

Akkadia will take long-term stakes of between 5 and 20 percent in European companies valued at between 250 million euros ($393.3 million) and 4 billion euros, an Akkadia spokesman said.

Fundraising will start later this year and Akkadia will be 50 percent owned by PAI and 50 percent owned by Guez and investment partner Guillaume Moinet.

The Akkadia spokesman declined to give further financial details, saying a fundraising target had not been set yet.

PAI acquisitions include car repair chain Kwik-Fit, dairy product producer Yoplait and United Biscuits.

“We are delighted to support this new venture; we like the concept and very much believe it is good market timing to start this activity,” said PAI Chairman and CEO Dominique Megret.

Philippe Guez spent 12 years at Deutsche, where he was head of global investment banking in France and head of equities in France and Italy.

Moinet was previously an executive director responsible for strategic equity derivatives in France at JP Morgan and Deutsche.

Minority stake acquisitions by buyout firms are becoming more common as the fallout from the credit crunch makes it tough to raise debt for large acquisitions.

CVC Capital Partners [CVC.UL] last month bought a 25.1 percent holding in German conglomerate Evonik [RUHR.UL].

Taking smaller stakes is also an option for private equity firms looking to circumvent rivals and secure influence over the boards of companies on the brink of distress.

TPG [TPG.UL] recently agreed to take a 23 percent stake in troubled British lender Bradford & Bingley (BB.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) before backing out. (Reporting by Eleanor Wason; Editing by Louise Ireland/Rory Channing)