Azimut to launch VCT with Earlybird

Azimut Holding, the largest independent Italian asset manager, has agreed to partner with the German venture capital firm Earlybird to launch a fund investing in the Italian technology sector.

The group will launch a venture capital trust, a closed-ended fund, on its Luxemburg platform mirroring the Earlybird model. The fund’s advisory firm will be 60% owned by Earlybird and 40% owned by Azimut.

Azimut’s chief executive Pietro Giuliani said the partnership will enable a combination of Earlybird’s knowhow and distribution capabilities with Azimut’s own local knowledge of institutional clients and high net worth individuals.

Michele Novelli, managing partner of Earlybird’s Italian business, said he aims to penetrate the venture capital sector in the country by supporting Italian start-up companies “at a time in which the country, despite the economic environment, is generating a stream of very innovative projects”.

The joint venture is part of Azimut’s strategy to seek expansion through deals with foreign companies. This year alone, the Italian group has established partnerships with companies in China, Hong Kong, Turkey, Monaco and Switzerland.

In May, Azimut announced a joint venture with Monaco-based Compagnie de Gestion privée Monegasque by acquiring a 50% stake in the business, valued at approximately €15m. MCG has more than €600m assets under management.

In August, the group agreed to acquire a majority share in Hong Kong-domiciled firm An Zhong Investment Management, which gave it to access the Chinese market.

In Turkey, Azimut owns a 65% share in GAM Turkey, a funds manufacturer, and a 5% share in Global Securities, a distributor.

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