European Fund Briefs, January 2013

CVC Plots Record Sixth Fund

Amidst considerable upheaval, London-based CVC Capital Partners is gauging investor appetite for a potential €11 billion ($14.2 billion) new buyout fund.

Formal launch of the Europe-focused fund, CVC’s sixth, is expected in early 2013, according to The Independent newspaper.

That would coincide with the retirement of CVC’s co-founder and chairman, Michael Smith, who is to be replaced by a triumvirate of senior executives.

It would also mean fundraising under the cloud of legal proceedings brought against CVC in relation to its purchase of Formula 1 motor racing.

Private equity firm Bluewaters Communications, an unsuccessful bidder for Formula 1 when it was sold to CVC in 2006, is suing CVC and other parties for $650 million due to claims of bribery in the sales process.

CVC’s potential new fund would be one of the largest since the financial crisis and would just exceed the €10.8 billion it raised in 2008.

Spanish Steps Toward Angel Funding Network

Spanish business angels have received help from on high in the form of a European Investment Fund (EIF) initiative that offers them money to play with.

The €20 million ($26 million) Fondo Isabel la Católica, a joint scheme between the EIF and Axis, the venture arm of state-owned Instituto Crédito Oficial (ICO), will fund business angels and small family offices with €250,000 to €5 million ($330,000 to $6.5 million).

It follows the launch of a similar fund in Germany in early 2012 and is expected to be the second of many such European Angel Funds.

The EIF’s goals in establishing such funds are to support European seed investment, foster cross-border co-operation between business angels, and promote family offices and business angels as an attractive alternative asset class.

Fondo Isabel la Católica is funded equally by the EIF and Axis and could rise to €30 million ($39 million).

Isis Offers New VCT Shares

London-based Isis Equity Partners wants to raise up to £30 million ($48 million) across five venture capital trusts (VCT).

In December, the firm was expected to seek express authority for three of the VCTs to invest in small-cap listed companies. Such investments do not qualify for VCT tax relief.

Viveris Bullish after First Close

Marseille-based Viveris Management has marked the anniversary of its acquisition by ACG Private Equity Developing with an initial close of its fourth growth capital fund.

Viveris Croissance IV (Viveris Growth IV) has raised €30 million ($39 million) from state-backed funds-of-funds CDC Enterprises, a consortium of regional savings banks, and from Arkéa Capital Investissement, a Brest, France-based growth capital investor.

The firm believes it could double the fund’s size, and a final close at €80 million ($103 million) is planned for early 2013.

The fund targets small and mid-sized businesses in Southeast France, taking minority stakes for between €1.5 million and €8 million ($2 million and $10 million).

It was expected to announce its first two deals before the end of 2012.

ACG Private Equity, a Paris-based fund-of-funds manager, bought Viveris Management in December 2011.

Siparex Woos Foreign LPs With Promise of Uncrowded French Market

Siparex, the Paris and Lyon-based growth capital and buyout house, is optimistic about attracting foreign investment after raising its third fund to €110 million ($142 million) in the final months of the year.

After a €90 million first close in September, the firm received an additional €10 million ($13 million) from a Quebec, Canada-based pension fund.

“France is an important market for institutional investors,” Nicolas Eschermann, a member of Siparex’s management board, tells VCJ. “We think it’s a good time in the investment cycle for them to invest. There’s not a lot of competition for lower-mid market funds in France at the moment.”

Eschermann hopes to break the fund’s €150 million ($194 million) target by close of marketing around June. However, despite his recent success, Eschermann doesn’t believe fundraising will become easier in 2013.

“I’m not sure the perception of the French economy will be any better this year,” he says.

Compiled by Alex Derber