LBO giants launch PR offensive in Germany

Hanns Ostmeier has stepped down from The Blackstone Group to chair the German Venture Capital Association’s new mega-buyout platform.

Europe’s big-ticket private equity sponsors continue to step up their efforts to improve the public image of large LBOs.

In Germany, ten firms are backing the creation of a new division of the German Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVK) dedicated to representing the largest LBO sponsors active in the country. The new platform will operate alongside BVK divisions representing early state, later stage and publicly funded private equity investment groups. 

The news comes less than three weeks after EVCA, the European industry body, also announced the creation of a mega-fund platform. Given the level of scrutiny and political pressure on the big buyout funds at the moment, it seems likely that other national associations, particularly the BVCA in London, will adopt similar structures before long. 

The founding members of the BVK LBO group are Allianz Capital Partners, Apax Partners, Advent International, Bain Capital, BC Partners, Blackstone, CVC Capital Partners, KKR, Permira and TPG, according to the BVK statement.

Hanns Ostmeier, until now a non-executive senior managing director of The Blackstone Group in Germany, will chair the group. In order to speak on behalf of all members, he has stepped down from his role at Blackstone.

Commenting on the initiative’s objectives, he said: “Many people do not exactly know what private equity means and why this industry is so important for the economic growth of Germany. With these plans we want to meet the need for information of political and economic decision-makers.”

He said the group’s first priority would be to collect data relating to all large private equity investments undertaken in Germany since the mid-1990s. Once completed, the database would then be made accessible to research organisations and academics in order to determine the precise impact of private equity ownership on private equity portfolio companies and the German economy in general.

A dedicated website and special events would also be forthcoming, the BVK said.

The Carlyle Group, Cinven and Warburg Pincus are not involved in the initiative.

Ostmeier, a former senior executive at BC Partners, joined Blackstone in September 2003 when the firm opened an office in Hamburg. In 2005, the firm closed the office and consolidated its European deal-making infrastructure at its London headquarters, with Ostmeier continuing as spokesperson for the firm in Germany.