News - 2011
First Avenue Nabs Placement Team
December 2011

Madison Williams' fund-marketing team has jumped to placement agent First Avenue Partners.

The crew arrived at First Avenue Sept. 1, with group head Jim McCarvill signing on as a partner in charge of the London outfit's activities in North America and South America. With the move, his focus remains the same as it was at Madison Williams raising money for private equity funds that invest in infrastructure, energy and natural resources businesses.

McCarvill holds the title of marketing chief for "real-asset" funds. But given its geographic purview, his staff is sharing some of the work of a separate hedge fund practice led by partner Christian Benigni. That five-person group is currently working on a half-dozen mandates in various locales.

McCarvill is based in New York, where he had launched Madison Williams' fund-placement division upon arriving last year. The group that followed him to First Avenue includes a few support staffers and five other marketing professionals: Basak Araz, Derek Dietrich and Stephen Hines in New York; David Breuner in San Francisco; and Tom DeFranco in Cleveland.

In addition, Claudia Ruemmelein is set to transfer to First Avenue's New York office from London early next year to cover Latin America. She joined the firm last year, following stints at Strategic Value Partners and Apollo Management.

First Avenue was founded by Benigni and chief executive Paul Buckley in 2006. With the addition of McCarvill, the shop has five partners. Its marketing staff numbers 25, across the U.S., Europe and Asia. That puts it among the largest placement agents not affiliated with a big financial institution. The shop also handles corporate-fundraising and mergers-and-acquisitions work.

McCarvill's group is bringing its marketing mandates along from Madison Williams, including a contract to raise money in the U.S. for ArcLight Capital's latest energy-focused buyout fund. That vehicle is set to close on its final round of equity next month with $3 billion.

First Avenue also plans to maintain an arrangement in which Madison Williams has been sharing origination and marketing work with Diamond Dragon Advisors of Hong Kong and Threadmark of London. However, it plans to pick up that business only on a case-by-case basis. Madison Williams' alliance with Diamond Dragon and Threadmark reflected relationships between those shops and C.P. Eaton Partners, where McCarvill worked until 2009. Madison Williams, an investment-banking firm based in New York, formed when a unit of Sanders Morris Harris spun off in December 2009.

Written by Hedge Fund Alert

October 2011

First Avenue acted as lead placement agent and together with Park Madison Partners in NY raised its hard cap of $500m October 26th 2011 for VBI Real Estate's second Brazil Real Estate Opportunities Fund (BREOF II). The Fund was oversubscribed. Their success in fundraising, in this very uncertain global environment, can be ascribed to their deep, local market presence and proven track record, as well as the perception that Brazil has largely been spared the full impact of the global recession.

VBI Real Estate is a leading, independent Sao Paulo based real estate investment management firm owned by its senior management team. BREOF II continues and expands on the investment strategy of their first fund ("BREOF I"), which closed in 2009. First Avenue was lead placement agent for this fund too.

Like its predecessor, BREOF II will continue to focus on managing real estate development projects in the housing, retail and office sectors, in both the primary capital cities and in secondary metropolitan areas with populations greater than 250,000.

The investor base of BREOF II is comprised of BREOF I investors and a diverse group of US and European public and corporate pension funds, insurance companies, non-profit foundations and family offices sourced predominately from the U.S.

May 2011

Portillion is a pre revenue, UK prime non mortgage lender founded in 2006 and based in Farnborough, Hampshire.  Controlling shareholders included entities affiliated with Jacob Rothschild and Portillion Management.

First Avenue was appointed in December 2010 to recapitalise Portillion. A leading investment bank and a corporate finance boutique had approached 55 investors over the preceding 12 months in search for recapitalisation finance. These investors were primarily well known UK buyout firms.

First Avenue prequalified and contacted 220 new investors within one month of which 70% were non UK based and 70% were institutional investors rather than financial sponsors. A final short list of three investors entered advanced due diligence by mid February 2011. A single Japanese investor concluded a £65m controlling investment in early April

Sveafastigheter Fund III
February 2011

First Avenue was lead placement agent for Sveafastigheter's third fund ex Nordic region, together with Park Madison Partners of New York and Leimdörfer, headquartered in Stockholm.

Based in Stockholm with offices in Helsinki and Malmö, Sveafastigheter is a leading Nordic private equity firm focusing solely on real estate investments. Capital commitments totalling E317 million were raised for Sveafastigheter Fund III, which finally closed in February 2011, raising almost twice as much as the prior two funds combined, despite a very challenging fund raising environment.

The first opportunistic real estate fund, Sveafastigheter Sverige I, was launched in 2003 and its second fund, Sveafastigheter Fund II in 2006. Sveafastigheter Fund III is an opportunistic fund focusing on real estate investments in the Nordic/Baltic countries, primarily Sweden and Finland.

Participants in the final closing mainly consist of leading global institutional investors. The commitments are divided equally between Nordic, other European and non-European, mainly American, investors.