Tong Departs Providence Equity Partners

Providence Equity Partners managing director Sean Tong is leaving the firm this month to join Mary Ma’s $1 billion China-focused fund, Boyu Capital, Reuters reported. Tong is the co-head of Providence’s Hong Kong office. He is the latest in a slew of Chinese private equity executives to leave global firms in favor of start-up China-focused funds. The news of Tong’s departure was first reported by Fortune.

(Reuters) – Providence Equity Partners managing director Sean Tong will leave the firm at the end of this month to join Mary Ma’s $1 billion China-focused fund, Boyu Capital, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Tong, the co-head of the firm’s Hong Kong office, is the latest in a series of high-profile Chinese private equity executives to quit global firms and join start-up China-focused funds, even as Blackstone Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and TPG have raised their own China funds.

Ma recently left TPG Capital to set up Boyu, while another former TPG dealmaker, Weijian Shan, is raising his own $2 billion-plus fund within the Pacific Alliance Group.

The third senior executive joining Ma’s fund, Boyu Capital, is outgoing Ping An Group CEO Louis Cheung, said one of the sources.

The addition of Tong to the Boyu line-up was previously reported by Fortune, while the Financial Times reported Cheung joining Ma.

The Tong hire underlines the steady growth and potential for China’s home grown private equity industry.

Sources said Ma, who was CFO of Lenovo when it acquired IBM’s PC division in 2005, appears to be having no problem raising funds, and has managed to successfully lobby some Chinese entrepreneurs and Hong Kong tycoons to be LPs of the planned $1 billion fund.

Tong joined Providence in 2008 from General Atlantic.

Providence’s Hong Kong co-head Patrick Corso is staying with the firm, the sources said. Telecommunications and media specialist Providence’s manages more than $22 billion in assets globally and has significant investments in China including Qiyi, its online video content portal joint venture with Baidu Inc, and a recent investment in television broadcast company TVB.

Last year, the company acquired Australian education specialist Study Group for A$660 million, in one of Asia-Pacific’s few leveraged buyout deals.

The sources declined to be named because they were not authorised to talk to the media.

Tong could not be reached for comment. Providence declined to comment. Ma did not respond to requests for comment. (Reporting by Stephen Aldred)