Slideshow: Permira Ramps Up U.S. Activity

John Coyle, Permira. Photo by Brendan McDermid, Reuters
John Coyle, Permira. Photo by Brendan McDermid, Reuters

In the last six months, European buyout shop Permira has signed as many acquisitions in the United States—three—as it had in the entire eight years since first opening an office in New York in 2002, Buyouts writes in a profile of the firm published Monday.

The deals mark the culmination of an almost decade-long expansion that began with the New York office and continued with a Menlo Park office, opened in 2008. In between, in 2005, the firm hired Tom Lister, a 13-year veteran of Forstmann Little & Co., to lead the effort. Permira’s premise for its U.S. expansion was to help its European-based companies expand here and, eventually, to start buying U.S.-based companies the firm thought it could expand globally.

“We opened the New York office with definitely a ‘walk before you run’ strategy,” John Coyle, a partner with Permira, told Buyouts. “As we grew and became more established in the U.S., we expected to start making direct investments here, but our mentality was not immediately, ‘Hey, go do a deal.'”

An increased U.S. presence for Permira, which manages approximately €20 billion ($27.4 billion), means more competition for large U.S. shops like The Blackstone Group, The Carlyle Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. The ramped-up activity also means a potentially lucrative source of fees for bankers, attorneys and other service providers.

Just as Permira’s U.S. activity has increased, however, it faces a challenging financing market and stagnant economic growth that’s driving many global buyout firms to emerging markets like Brazil or China, or to alternative lines of business such as credit management, Buyouts writes. Bain Capital, for example, has invested about $3.3 billion this year, almost all of it outside the United States, Ian Loring, a managing director at the firm, said at an industry conference in late September. Many of Permira’s portfolio companies are already tapping into growth in emerging markets via its 12 offices, including Hong Kong. But the firm isn’t racing to open other offices in Asia or Latin America.

Altogether, Permira’s U.S. deals have comprised more than $26 billion in disclosed deal value. Below is a look at each, complete with return multiple where available. To read the full profile, which includes performance data on Permira’s funds, go here (subs only).

Bernard Vaughan is a Senior Editor at Buyouts Magazine. Follow his tweets @BVaughanReuters.

[slideshow]

[slide title=”Memec*”]

Year of investment: 2000

Business: Distributor of semiconductors from German utility business E.ON

Initial Transaction Size: $770M (consortium)

Status: Exited

Return: N/A

*Bought under the Schroder’s Ventures Ltd. banner, before Permira opened an office in New York in 2002.

[slide title=”Intelsat”]

Year of investment: 2005

Business: Satellite services provider

Initial Transaction Size: $5B (consortium)

Status: Exited

Return: 9.8x

[slide title=”Aearo Technologies”]

Year of investment: 2006

Business: Manufacturer of safety equipment

Initial Transaction Size: $765M

Status: Exited

Return: 2.2x

[slide title=”Freescale Semiconductor”]

Year of investment: 2006

Business: Semiconductor manufacturer

Initial Transaction Size: $17.6B (consortium)

Status: Current

[slide title=”BakerCorp International Inc.”]

Year of investment: 2011

Business: Rents water containment equipment to industrial companies

Initial Transaction Size: $960M

Status: Current

[slide title=”Renaissance Learning Inc.”]

Year of investment: 2011

Business: Provides tech-based student programs for kindergarten through 12th grade

Initial Transaction Size: $455M

Status: Current

[slide title=”Genesys”]

Year of investment: 2011

Business: Supplies enterprise software and services

Initial Transaction Size: $1.5B

Status: Agreed to buy

[/slideshow]