Equistone Partners Europe Closes Fund VI at €2.8bn Hard Cap

Equistone Partners Europe Limited (“Equistone”), one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity investors, has announced the successful final closing of Equistone Partners Europe Fund VI (“EPEF VI”) at its hard cap with total capital commitments of €2.8bn. Equistone completed the fundraising within four months of its launch in early November 2017. The Equistone team will also make a commitment to EPEF VI alongside the institutional investors.

Consistent with Equistone’s established strategy, EPEF VI will invest in European buyouts valued between €50m and €500m, targeting well-positioned businesses in Western Europe with high-calibre management teams and strong growth potential. The fund attracted commitments from an enhanced base of 56 major institutional investors across Western Europe and the Nordic region (accounting for 56% of capital raised), North America (28%), and the rest of the world (16%), including pension funds, funds of funds, sovereign wealth funds, and insurance companies. With existing investors in prior Equistone funds providing c.75% of the capital and the total number of investors growing almost 30% on its previous fund, Equistone has accommodated heightened demand while maintaining its long-standing commitment to rightsizing its funds relative to the market opportunity.

Guillaume Jacqueau, Managing Partner of Equistone Partners Europe, commented: “We’re extremely pleased to have successfully completed the fundraising process for our sixth fund from a combination of new and existing institutional investors. This represents a further validation of Equistone’s track record of generating attractive returns and our highly experienced team’s proven ability to identify and partner with strong mid-market businesses across France, Germany, Switzerland, and the UK.”

Rob Myers, Senior Partner and UK Head at Equistone, said: “The teams in our London, Birmingham, and Manchester offices have been highly effective in originating new investment opportunities, reinforcing our UK franchise, which is a key component of Equistone’s ability to deploy capital in a competitive environment. We continue to find growing UK companies with robust market positions led by high-calibre management teams. We will draw on our track record and local knowledge to back the most compelling propositions, in order to support their long-term growth potential.”

Christiian Marriott, Partner and Head of Investor Relations at Equistone, added: “To raise a fund in four months with an enhanced investor base is testament to both the continued support of our existing backers as well as Equistone’s wider reputation among high-calibre institutions around the world. We have always sought to exercise discipline when raising funds to ensure that we’re able to deploy our investors’ capital as effectively as possible, and we’re confident that we have the right-sized fund to keep successfully investing in our well-established target market.”

Equistone has consistently deployed capital from its previous fund, Equistone Partners Europe Fund V, and continued to realise value from its portfolio during and prior to the fundraising process for EPEF VI, announcing nine investments and eight exits since January 2017. These included:

NEW INVESTMENTS

  • The acquisition of Inspired Thinking Group, a UK-based technology-led provider of outsourced multichannel marketing services, from Bridgepoint Development Capital (October 2017);
  • The acquisition of Bruneau, a leading, Paris-headquartered online retailer of office supplies and equipment, from Weinberg Capital Partners (October 2017);
  • The acquisition of DefShop, a leading German multichannel retailer of streetwear and hip-hop clothing, from the company’s founder and his family (September 2017).

RECENT EXITS

  • The sale of Concept Life Sciences, a Manchester-headquartered provider of integrated drug discovery, development, analytical testing, and environmental consulting services to Spectris PLC at an enterprise value of £163 million, generating a money multiple of 2.7x and an IRR of 36% (January 2018);
  • The sale of EuroAvionics, a global manufacturer of civil avionics systems based in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, to HENSOLDT, a spin-off of Airbus Group’s Defence Electronics business (August 2017);
  • The sale of Meilleurtaux, a leading French retail financial services broker, to Goldman Sachs, generating an exit multiple of 8.2x and a gross IRR of over c.70% (February 2017).

Evercore Private Funds Group advised Equistone on the fundraising and Clifford Chance acted as fund formation, tax, and regulatory counsel.

 

Source: Equistone press release

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