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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Fido Unit Ventures Away From the Nest

News summary by MFWire's editors

Ned Johnson and Co are shuttering a venture capital business, at least for now, even as those executives strike out on their own. Reuters' Ross Kerber reports that "Fidelity Ventures will cease operations, at least for now." Meanwhile Larry Cheng, Andy Flaster, Roger Hurwitz and Rob Ketterson (executives from the tech side of Fidelity Ventures) will serve as managing directors of a brand new venture firm, Volition Capital, managing about $400 million.

The spinoff may not surprise Fidelity watchers and mutual fund industry insiders, as Ned shuttered his private equity unit, Fidelity Equity Partners, in Summer 2009.

In a subsequent interview with The MFWire, Cheng declined to comment on the pricing or terms of the deal, but he confirmed that neither side worked with an outside banker or consultant for the spinoff. According to Cheng, the new company boasts 16 employees.

Fidelity won't own a piece of Volition Capital, though Cheng confirmed that Volition "will continue to manage 20 U.S. portfolio companies and jointly manage six European portfolio companies with Fidelity Growth Partners Europe."

Cheng said that he and his partners split off specifically to raise non-Fidelity money.

"The partners had an aspiration to be an independent firm and to extend our sources of capital to third parties," Cheng told The MFWire, adding: "It's really just the Boston office and team that have chosen to go down this path.

Cheng noted that the Boston Behemoth will hang on to several other VC units, including Fidelity Growth Partners (in Asia, Europe and India) and Fidelity Biosciences (in the U.S.). According to Cheng, Fidelity Ventures first started back in 1969.

The Boston Herald's Jay Fitzgerald also covered the news. 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor


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