After years of deeply embarrassing claims from 75 per cent of firms that they are all top-quartile, we finally have an entrant to private equity for whom such an accolade is indisputable.
The 7ft 6in former basketball player Yao Ming (whose name, in various areas of the Midlands, would rather unfortunately mean “you smell”) has turned his back on three-pointers and set his sights on home-run deals by launching one fund and taking a majority stake in another.
The entrepreneurial Yao has form in this area, however, having previously made investments in two Chinese companies and saved his former basketball side from financial oblivion.
The Wall Street Journal quotes a rather optimistic GP who claims that Yao’s “experience in dealing with locker room dynamics while at the Houston Rockets will serve him
well when dealing with fractious corporate boards”, adding that “if he can dunk over Shaq, I’m sure he can handle a stubborn CEO”. But stretching a leisurely and monstrous arm up to slam-dunk a basket isn’t quite the allusion the Vulture would choose for fundraising right now.
Another heady few weeks in the world of nominative determinism, with the action kicking off this issue at One Equity Partners. The private equity arm of JPMorgan Chase is headed up by managing partner Dick Cashin.
But Cashin is effortlessly gazumped by a lawyer at Allen & Overy. European GPs will force a wry smile upon discovering that the firm’s specialist in “EU and Belgian competition law and regulation” has the tremendously apposite name of Dirk Arts.