Tikehau’s Laillier: Local hires to help beef up UK presence

Fresh from his relocation to London from Paris, Tikehau Capital’s head of private equity outlines the reasons for his move and the ways that Brexit is affecting dealmaking.

Earlier this month, PE Hub Europe broke the news that Emmanuel Laillier, Tikehau Capital’s head of private equity, had relocated to London from Paris. It was the latest in a series of private equity firms making a push into the UK capital, including Thoma Bravo’s opening of a London office.

Tikehau Capital’s private equity business has €4.5 billion of assets under management and focuses on growth equity, energy transition and green assets, aero and cybersecurity, and special opportunities.

Recent deals involving the firm include its reinvestment in energy transition firm GreenYellow in July. Mecachrome, a French precision engineering company backed by Tikehau subsidiary Tikehau Ace Capital and Bpifrance, in mid-September bought a majority stake in Groupe Rossi Aero, a French manufacturer of components for the aerospace industry.

PE Hub Europe caught up with Laillier to find out the reasons behind his move to London, as well as the company’s plans for its London office and whether Brexit is still causing concern for the UK’s private equity industry.

What was behind your move to London? Was it part of a larger move by the firm to have a bigger presence in London?

Tikehau Capital’s long-term commitment to each market it has a presence in is an important part of the group’s investment philosophy. Moving to London signals our desire to scale-up the group’s presence and brand equity within the UK private equity industry, which is a strategic hub for the sector in Europe. It provides us with the opportunity to strengthen our relationships with the London-based PE community, have closer proximity to our clients and develop local investments.

Indeed, our investment portfolio – which includes two companies in the UK, two companies in Ireland, in addition to our recent investment in Scotland – is testament to our ongoing commitment to this market.

Are there any lingering worries about the effect Brexit could have on the private equity industry in London or are these over?

Whilst the long-term impact of Brexit on the UK economy is less clear, the immediate impact it has had on the private equity industry in London is most likely behind us.

In my view, there have been two key implications on the sector in London to date – firstly, it has created some tangible regulatory constraints. For example, I am no longer able to vote on an investment committee for a vehicle that is registered in the European Union if I am not physically located in the EU. Secondly, US investors are increasingly viewing the UK and the EU as regions that are marked by political instability.

That said, we continue to see high levels of investment and attractive opportunities in these regions, particularly as the current level of the euro and pound versus the US dollar is also a good entry point.

Will any of your colleagues follow you from Paris to London? Or do you plan to increase the London headcount via hires?

As we like to say at Tikehau Capital, “Good deals have no wheels”, by which we mean nothing can replace being close to our partners and clients in Europe.

We strongly believe that private equity is a local business, both in terms of origination, where local roots, knowledge and network play an integral part in successful deal sourcing, and in the deal-making process, where cultural values are inextricably linked with both the due-diligence process and decision-making. Thus, we will continue to expand our talent base in the UK mainly through local hires. In parallel, we will continue to promote internal – and international – mobility in order to strengthen our international mindset and one-firm approach.