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Boutiques: Start-ups get to work on key deals

Amias Berman kicks off with PE deal; Primus buys into insurance

  Jeremy Amias and Charlie Berman: tasty deals for Jamie Oliver (picture credit: Patricia Pastore)

Jeremy Amias and Charlie Berman: tasty deals for Jamie Oliver

Amias Berman, the debt advisory and brokerage boutique founded earlier this year by its eponymous pair of ex-Citi bankers, has secured a first mandate in Asia as it looks to become a global firm. The boutique is still waiting for its licence in Hong Kong, expected "any day now", according to co-founder Jeremy Amias, but because the deal involves a private placement Amias Berman was able to go ahead. It is the sole arranger and adviser for chef Jamie Oliver’s latest venture, a 30-restaurant build-out in Asia of his Jamie’s Italian brand. The deal is a private equity arrangement worth about $22 million, with three restaurants due to open in Hong Kong and Singapore next year and the rest following in such regional hubs as Seoul, Tokyo and Shanghai.

Legacy relationships
"It’s not a deal we would traditionally do in as much as it’s private equity rather than debt," says Amias, "but it came about as a result of some legacy relationships we had and it gets us started nicely."