December 6, 2016 / 9:51 AM / 2 years ago

Electra Partners renamed Epiris as tries to forge new future

LONDON (Reuters) - Buyout firm Electra Partners has renamed itself Epiris, aiming to forge a new future after being sacked as the portfolio manager for Electra Private Equity earlier this year.

Epiris - a combination of EP for Electra Partners and “Iris”, the name of Electra’s daughter in Greek mythology - will split from listed-Electra Private Equity in May.

The separation comes after activist investor Edward Bramson fought a long and bitter campaign to join the listed company’s board as part of a drive to overhaul one of Britain’s oldest private equity firms.

More than 95 percent of the funds overseen by Epiris came from Electra. It is now seeking alternative sources of funds, but has not yet given details on where these will come from.

The UK-focused fund could face a tough time raising cash as Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in June has led to a slowdown in private equity activity.

Buyout transactions in Britain had fallen almost 60 percent in the year to November, compared with the same period in 2015, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Uncertainty about the way in which Britain will leave the EU is putting off private equity investors.

Three-quarters of limited partners think a ‘hard’ Brexit, in which tight controls on immigration are prioritised over access to the EU’s single market, would damage Britain, according to a survey of 110 private equity investors from Coller Capital.

Bramson, whose Sherborne Investors investment vehicle is the biggest shareholder in Electra Private Equity, had criticised Electra Partners for a lack of openness and said there was more value to be found in the company’s portfolio, which includes the restaurant chain TGI Fridays in Britain.

“We are proud of the exceptional returns we have produced for our investors, including Electra Private Equity PLC and its shareholders, over the decades” said Alex Fortescue, Epiris’s managing partner, who has been chief investment partner at the firm since 2011.

“Our new name retains a link to this heritage, whilst also providing a new identity for our exciting future.”

Editing by Mark Potter

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