Former Invesco GPs launch FoF named Vedanta

Parag Saxena and two other former investors of the financial firm Invesco have launched a private equity fund-of-funds called Vedanta Venture Capital with hopes of raising $300 million from investors, according to a regulatory filing. New York-based Vedanta has not yet raised any capital, which it plans to invest in venture funds, U.S. leveraged buyout funds and non-U.S. funds.

Saxena, who ranked No. 23 on the Forbes magazine list of the nation’s top dealmakers for his handful of good exits in 2005, co-founded Vedanta with former Invesco Private Capital General Partners Howard Goldstein and Alessandro Piol.

The partners could not be reached for comment. In a statement last year, Saxena said that the new firm was “a great opportunity to leverage the expertise we have acquired over so many years of working together.” Saxena and Goldstein have invested together since 1984. Piol joined them at Invesco in 1995.

Under a microscope

The new fund comes less than a year after four of six investors at Invesco Private Capital tendered their resignations. Upon leaving, the Invesco investors told The New York Times that the main reason for their resignations was increased scrutiny from their parent company, Invesco, as the result of their settlement in a lawsuit filed by the New York Attorney General’s office over improper mutual fund trading.

Invesco Private Capital is currently investing from fund IV, a $500 million vintage 2004 fund that is believed to be winding down. Early last year, Invesco offered bonuses to the members of its private equity subsidiaries. About a dozen investors were offered $100,000 each to stay aboard, sources said. People familiar with the firm said the bonuses were being used as a way to get the ship stabilized before the firm sets sail on the next fund-raising circuit.

Invesco Private Capital invested nearly $30 million in eight startups during 2006, all of which were follow-on rounds, according to Thomson Financial (publisher of VCJ). As for exits, Invesco sold Predix Pharmaceuticals to Epix Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: EPIX) for $90 million with a chance to earn an additional $35 million based on the completion of milestones. It sold InnerCool Therapies, which had raised $50 million from VCs, to Cardium Therapeutics (OTC: CDTP) for just $6 million. Invesco also participated in the sale of Jamba Juice to shell company Services Acquisition Corp. International (AMEX: SVI) for $265 million. —Alexander Haislip