One of the leading figures in Britain’s private equity industry is in talks to join CVC Capital Partners, the new backer of Premiership Rugby, following more than a decade at one of its biggest rivals.
Sky News has learnt that Dominic Murphy, a former partner at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), is close to an agreement to join CVC.
The move would be a comparatively uncommon one involving a top figure at one of the buyout sector’s most prominent names subsequently joining a major competitor.
In Mr Murphy’s case, he left KKR in 2017 to set up his own firm, 8C Capital, but was forced to abandon the completion of its inaugural €1bn fundraising when his co-founder quit to rejoin KKR.
That development marked a rare setback in the career of Mr Murphy, who was one of the architects of Boots The Chemist’s £12bn takeover by KKR in 2007.
It was unclear on Sunday which of CVC’s portfolio companies Mr Murphy was likely join as a board member, or which areas he would target for new acquisitions.
Insiders suggested he was likely to continue to focus on consumer and healthcare sector businesses if his appointment as a partner at CVC is confirmed.
One source said the negotiations about him joining had been tightly held within the London-based investment group.
Private equity groups including CVC have raised ever-larger funds to invest around the world, with some raising in excess of $20bn of equity to fuel their dealmaking capacity.
Partners at these firms, who benefit from so-called ‘carried interest’, can earn tens or even hundreds of millions of pounds if their deals are successful.
Mr Murphy spent 12 years at KKR, the US-based firm made famous by the bestselling book Barbarians at the Gate, which recounted its $25bn battle to buy the food and tobacco conglomerate RJR Nabisco.
Five years after KKR’s takeover of Alliance Boots, Walgreens, the giant US retailer, bought a minority stake in the company.
It then acquired the remainder in 2014 in a deal which saw the company renamed Walgreens Boots Alliance.
Mr Murphy remains on the New York-listed company’s board.
He is also a director of The Hut Group, the British online health and beauty retailer which has seen its valuation soar in recent years to the extent that a public flotation would almost certainly propel it into the FTSE-100.
CVC and Mr Murphy both declined to comment.