Equistone closes first independent fund at €1.5bn target

Equistone Partners Europe Limited, a mid-market private equity investor, has closed the Equistone Partners Europe Fund IV (EPEF IV) with total capital commitments of €1.5bn.

The fundraising has been achieved just over one year from a spin-out from Barclays PLC. EPEF IV will continue to invest in buyouts valued between €50m and €300m, targeting strong businesses with excellent growth prospects, a statement said.

EPEF IV attracted substantial commitments from a diverse range of major institutional investors including pension funds, fund of funds, sovereign wealth funds, and insurance companies.

Commitments came from 42 institutional investors in Europe (53%), North America (16%) and the rest of the world (31%). Of the €1.5bn raised approximately 70% came from existing investors in prior Equistone funds.

Guillaume Jacqueau, managing partner of Equistone Partners Europe, said many of Equistone’s longstanding investors increased their commitments since the last fund and there were commitments from several new, international investors.

Rob Myers, managing director (UK) of Equistone Partners Europe, said the final closing of Equidstone’s first fully independent fund was a milestone, reflecting “an impressive track record and real strength and depth across the entire team, which underpins the franchise that we have developed”.

The last year has been active for Equistone, with seven successful investments and six successful exits completed across the UK, France and Germany.

For EPEF IVthey include the acquisition of Unither Pharmaceuticals in October 2011; the acquisition of bespoke travel specialist Audley Travel from its owners in March 2012 and the purchase of an 84% stake in EuroAvionics, a manufacturer of civil certified avionics systems for helicopters and airplanes, in July 2012.

Exits completed from previous funds in 2012 included the sale of Global Blue, provider of tax-free shopping solutions, to Silver Lake and Partners Group for €1bn in May 2012; the sale of Kermel, a European manufacturer of meta-aramid fibre for protective clothing and industrial applications to Qualium Investissement in July 2012 and the sale of Ratioform, a supplier of packaging solutions to TAKKT AG for approximately €210m in June 2012.

Lazard acted as placement agent to EPEF IV and Clifford Chance acted as fund formation counsel.

Equistone Partners Europe Limited is an independent investment firm owned and managed by the former executives of Barclays Private Equity. The company has a track record of over 30 years, with more than 350 transactions completed.

With a team of 33 operating across France, Germany, Switzerland and the UK, it has a strong focus on change of ownership deals. It aims to invest between €25m and €125m of equity in businesses with enterprise values of between €50m and €300m.


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