Pamlico Capital: New Name, Smaller Fund

Wachovia Capital Partners declared its independence from Wells Fargo yesterday, spinning off into a new firm called Pamlico Capital.

I spent some time on the phone with managing partner Scott Perper, and here are some highlights in notes form:

* The spin-off is unrelated to the proposed Volcker Rule, whereby banks would be required to divest in-house private equity groups. Perper says discussions over what to do with WCP began shortly after the Wells Fargo acquisition in late 2008. He also said that there were never discussions about merging WCP with Norwest Equity Partners, which receives all of its fund capital from Wells Fargo.

* Perper: “Our conversations with Wells Fargo were about what was the right longterm strategy for our group going forward. If you look at the cast majority of our transactions, we found that the vast majority had come from our network, rather than from the bank platform. So it made a lot of sense for us to become independent going forward.”

* In 2007, WCP raised $1.8 billion for a new fund that include commitments from both Wachovia and third parties. As part of the spin-off from Wells Fargo, the firm has reduced the fund’s size to $1.1 billion, with around $600 million remaining in dry powder. Perper declined to say whether Wells Fargo was the only LP to reduce its stake, although did stress that the bank still had unfunded commitments that it plans to honor.

* The Pamlico Capital team has been together for 22 years. Before being known as Wachovia Capital, it was First Union Capital Partners.

* The entire WCP team has moved over to Pamlico Capital. No stragglers remaining with Wells Fargo.

* The new firm name, Pamlico Capital, is named after the Pamlico Sound in North Carolina, which is the nation’s second-largest estuary.