Bridgepoint celebrates EURO2bn close

Bridgepoint Capital has exceeded its original EURO1.6 billion target on its new fund. The Second European Private Equity fund (EPEF II) has reached a final close at just over EURO2 billion.

EPEF II has attracted around EURO1 billion from existing investors in EPEF I, as well as new investors from Europe, North America, and the Far and Middle East. Graham Dewhirst, head of investor relations at Bridgepoint, said: “By any standards and given that a number of funds have not made their targets, to come in ahead of ours and within this time frame is a very good result.”

EPEF II has already made its first three investments the EURO206 million buyout and de-listing of WT Foods, a UK manufacturer and distributor of ethnic and speciality foods; the EURO176 million growth capital and equity release transaction in Virgin Active, the health and fitness business and the EURO67 million buyout of the UK specialist hire company Hydrex Group.

Chief executive, William Jackson said that raising this new fund in current difficult markets has underlined Bridgepoint’s strong reputation with investors. He said: “The European mid-market is emerging as a place where investors want to be. This is clear from the number of new investors attracted to EPEF II, who are making allocations with private equity firms with a proven middle market investment strategy.”

EPEF I closed in April 1999 and was also oversubscribed and capped at GBP1 billion. The fund made 65 investments and over the past year Bridgepoint has enjoyed a frenzy of successful exits from this fund see exit news this issue.

SJ Berwin advised Bridgepoint on the fund raising of EPEF II. The team comprised corporate finance partners Jonathan Blake and Blair Thompson, assisted by Andrew Lobb. Blair Thompson said: “Bridgepoint Capital is a longstanding client of the firm and we were delighted to have helped them successfully raise their second pan-European fund in what is proving, for some other private equity houses, to be a difficult fund raising environment.”