The split has laid the groundwork for Mr. Dias to reshape Victoria’s investment approach for its Brazilian office, which historically has operated with a degree of independence from the rest of the firm. As he rebuilds the team, he is more closely aligning the office with other parts of the firm by adopting key tenets of Victoria’s broader strategy. This effort includes strengthening ties with other offices and investing for the first time in larger Brazilian companies that have the potential to expand throughout South America.
“I really believe in the regional strategy,” he said. “This strategy requires convergence because, otherwise, we stay each in our country and the firm won’t make progress in [developing] a more cohesive strategy.”
Mr. Dias, who is Brazilian and a partner at Victoria, added that his faith in a regional investment approach emanates from his experience living and working in several Latin American countries.
He began his career at consulting firm McKinsey & Co., where he worked in countries such as Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, he said. From 2005 to 2008, Mr. Dias was chief executive of satellite-television company DirecTV in Peru and then for both Argentina and Uruguay. He left DirecTV to lead Google’s operations in Brazil and in 2010 became CEO of Brazilian education company Anhanguera. He remained there until he joined Victoria in 2011.
Mr. Dias’s familiarity with South America’s different cultures has been instrumental to Victoria, said Carlos García, the firm’s chairman and managing partner.
“Having somebody that can operate in Brazil effectively but at the same time understands the need to deploy capital and to look at things differently outside Brazil is very valuable for us,” he said.
It was Mr. Dias’s conviction about the need to more closely align Victoria’s Brazilian office with the firm’s other operations in cities such as Buenos Aires and Bogotá, Colombia, that separated him from his former colleagues who now are at the newly launched Principia Capital Partners, Mr. Dias said.
Those professionals, including former Victoria Managing Partner Mario Spinola e Castro, continue to focus exclusively at Principia on the type of smaller, midmarket deals Victoria was known for in Brazil.
Different views about Victoria’s strategy, rather than relationship conflicts, were the main driver of the split, Mr. Dias said.
“A genesis of the spinoff was simply a disagreement about how Brazil should be part of a South American strategy and not of a Brazil-and-other-South-American-countries strategy,” he said.
Mr. Dias added he had made up his mind from the beginning of the spinoff process about where he stood and wasn’t invited to the new firm. Principia didn’t comment for this article.
Now, Mr. Dias likely will have more opportunities to put his regional experience to work as Victoria pursues larger investments in Brazil that the firm so far has made only in other South American countries. The new investments will tend to be in companies that already operate regionally or have the potential to do so, Mr. Dias said.
“The regional strategy enables us to continue making midmarket transactions [in Brazil], from $50 million to $80 million, but also opens space for us opportunistically to make transactions from $200 million to $300 million,” he said.
Mr. Dias recently led Victoria’s first two deals since last year’s spinoff, investing a total of $50 million in Import Sports, a distributor of nutritional supplements; and Evers Nutracêutica Indústria e Comércio Ltda., a contract manufacturer of nutritional supplements. Victoria plans to combine the companies and rebrand Import Sports as NCS-NutriCare Suplementos SA, Mr. Dias said. Evers will retain its brand.
Mr. Dias also so far has overseen Victoria’s recruitment of two new Brazil-based investment professionals and expects to hire three more this year. The firm is seeking $550 million for a new fund, WSJ Pro Private Equity previously reported.
“It’s a very interesting moment for the firm,” he said. “I feel very motivated to be part of it.”
Por Luis Garcia
Source: The Wall Street Journal