Behrman heads for Europe

Behrman Capital, the US private equity house, has announced the final close of a $1.2 billion buyout fund, Behrman Capital III. Darryl Behrman, managing partner said the fund is seeking its first international investment.

Darryl Behrman, who founded the firm with his brother Grant in 1992, says up to $200 million of the new fund could be spent in Western Europe. A group of Behrman’s LPs have formed an advisory board to consider investments outside of the US. The firm currently has offices in New York and San Francisco and plans for a European office are underway but its location is yet to be confirmed.

In the US the firm has invested in a mixture of private equity deals including expansion financing, recapitalisations and buyouts. Behrman Capital targets emerging growth companies. Preferred sectors include IT, outsourcing, business services and contract manufacturing industries.

Although not currently working on a deal, Behrman is confident that Germany and Scandinavia are the most likely locations for two to five investments of between $50 million and $100 million.

He said: “The telecoms and wireless industries offer very attractive opportunities in Europe.”

Justifying the firm’s planned foray into Europe, Behrman highlighted the solid infrastructure of Europe’s capital markets. He believes that corporate restructuring, driven in Germany by the tax reforms, will provide ample investment openings. He also cited good exit opportunities and deal prices lower than the US as reasons behind the expansion.

The majority of the fund’s investors are US-based, including CalPERS, which contributed $150 million, and New York State Common Retirement Fund ($100 million). Of the total capital 22 per cent comes from insurance companies, pension funds, corporates and fund-of-funds outside the US. Without naming names Behrman said the fund’s European backers included investors from Germany, Scandinavia, Switzerland and the UK.