Last December I wrote that Elevation Partners was beginning to make noise about raising a second fund, an Act 2 for its less-than-successful, $1.9-billion first effort. Elevation is the private-equity firm started by Roger McNamee, Bono and others that was supposed to focus on next-generation media and entertainment deals but drifted instead into consumer electronics (by buying Palm (PALM)), online real estate and tired old media. It recently recruited former eBay (EBAY) finance guy Rajiv Dutta and Avie Tavanian, once chief of Apple's (AAPL) software efforts.
Now the noise out of Elevation is about retrenchment. The firm is cutting "fewer than 10" people, mostly in administrative functions and primarily because it no longer needs extra hands on deck what with HP (HPQ) taking Palm off its hands. Assuming "fewer than 10" means nine, and seeing as Elevation lists 13 administrative people on its website, the cuts are deep. It won't say how many of the 21 investment professionals it lists are leaving, though one, Patricia Wexler, recently sent a note to her contacts indicating she has left. Elevation stresses that its seven top people, including the two new ones, aren't going anywhere. But that's not all that interesting. The question for the firm's longevity is how many of the people below the top level -- the ones who show that an institution with staying power is being built -- are sticking around. More
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