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Boots merger mastermind Murphy to join CVC

Sky News logo Sky News 18/08/2019 Mark Kleinman, City editor

a group of people walking down the street: Dominic Murphy was one of the architects of KKR's takeover of  Boots in 2007 © Getty Dominic Murphy was one of the architects of KKR's takeover of Boots in 2007 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.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 30: A general exterior view of a Boots the Chemist retail store at Holborn on May 30, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by John Keeble/Getty Images) © Getty LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 30: A general exterior view of a Boots the Chemist retail store at Holborn on May 30, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by John Keeble/Getty Images) 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.

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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.

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