Lion Capital is the new name for the former European arm of buyout firm Hicks Muse Tate & Furst.
The process of gaining independence from its Dallas-based parent was formally announced by the European office in January, when it became known as Hicks Muse (Europe) although the move to independence had begun some time
In July 2004, the firm announced that its compensation structure had been altered. Under the previous scheme members of the US investment team had been entitled to a share of the carry from European exits and vice versa. Under the new system, carry was split down strict geographic lines, effectively sealing the separation of the London operation from the Dallas headquarters.
The London office of Lion Capital will be led by Lyndon Lea, while Texas-based eponymous co-founder John Muse will be non-executive chairman of the European business, which is in the process of raising a separate fund to focus on the European buyout market.
The new European fund, with a reported target of between €800 million and €1 billion, has already made two investments – the £642 million buyout of UK cereals group Weetabix in 2003 and the acquisition of luxury shoe retailer Jimmy Choo for £101 million in November last year.
In a statement, Lea said: “Our change of name, from Hicks Muse (Europe) to Lion Capital, is the final step in the evolution of our private equity business to a fully independent, European firm.” Since 1998, the firm has invested approximately €2 billion in companies across Europe.
In Dallas, Hicks Muse Tate & Furst will continue as an independent firm under the leadership of John Muse and Jack Furst, following the retirement of Tom Hicks last year.
In a recent interview with Private Equity International, Muse confirmed that the firm’s fifth buyout fund had around $300 million of dry powder and that Fund VI would likely target “either side of a billion dollars”.