Tuesday 17 October 2017

BC Partners buys Teneo stake

Jack Ma
Jack Ma
Nick Webb

Nick Webb

BC Partners, the €90bn private equity house, has bought "a minority stake" in Declan Kelly's corporate advisory group Teneo.

Tipperary man Kelly, who was appointed as a special economic envoy to Northern Ireland by Hilary Clinton, is a former Irish Examiner journalist and PR executive. His younger brother Alan is Minister for the Environment.

Fast-growing Teneo, which was set up by Kelly and partners Paul Keary and Doug Band three years ago, has operations stretching from PR to a merchant bank and a sports advisory business arm which represents LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Graeme McDowell.

Corporate clients include Chinese billionaire Jack Ma's Alibaba, Dow Chemicals and Coca Cola. The firm is headquartered in the US.

Irish clients include Liberty Insurance. It also invested in Irish stockbroker Merrion Capital. The new funding from BC Partners is earmarked to expand the company into a number of other sectors including an executive recruitment operation and a corporate governance arm. This expansion will be through acquisition and hiring key talent from competitors.

Teneo was closely linked to Bill Clinton for a number of years, although the former US president ended his consultancy arrangement with the group in 2012 over fears of a conflict of interest as Hilary Clinton was serving as US Secretary of State at the time.

The relationship with the Clintons had also been hit by the collapse of US hedge fund MF Global, run by Jon Corzine, a top Democrat and former New Jersey governor. Teneo had links to both Corzine and then-president Clinton and a one-time high-level State Department official.

Teneo client Dow Chemical is involved in a legal row with a whistleblower over claims of excessive executive spending, including payments to a charity that includes Kelly as one of its advisors. Teneo saw its fee from Dow treble from $5m to $16m last year.

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