Alliance Trust, the UK generalist investment trust listed on the London Stock Exchange, has acquired 100% of the shareholding of Albany Ventures, a UK early-stage fund manager set-up in 2000.
The venture firm runs three VC funds and has €37m of assets under management. The acquisition will see Albany’s two founders and largest shareholders, Raymond Abbott and John Morrison, head up Alliance’s new private equity team.
The purchase of Albany is part of Alliance’s strategy to increase its exposure to alternative assets – it has already built up a €96m property portfolio since November 2005 – and was already a backer of Albany Ventures Fund III, a €32m fund which closed in 2002.
Alliance currently has around €103m committed to private equity, which accounts for just 3% of its €4bn portfolio. Alliance Trust chief executive Alan Harden said: “This acquisition exactly meets our requirements to continue extending our investment expertise across asset classes to manage risk and generate enhanced returns through different market cycles. We fully expect private equity to be an important part of our future investment portfolio and now we are starting to build the skills to enable this to happen. Albany Ventures was a natural choice since we have been working with their team since 2002 and have seen at first hand their deep understanding of the market, clear vision and risk management skills.”
Albany has made two exits this year, raising €12m for the float of Citel Technologies, a UK internet telephony specialist, and selling business solutions business Aim Holdings to Computer Software Group.