Cazenove PE to merge with Prelude

UK investment bank Cazenove Capital Management is to spin out its Cazenove Private Equity unit, with the business to be merged with Cambridge based venture capital firm Prelude Ventures Ltd to form a new partnership.

The new business will have assets under management of £285m (US$500m), and committed capital of approximately £100m (US$175m) available for new and follow-on investments.

In a joint statement the two companies said that the CPE team would be spun out of Cazenove Capital Management in mid-2006 and would continue to manage the New Europe Access Fund, a £234m Limited Partnership raised from a combination of leading European institutional investors, private investors and Cazenove Capital Management itself.

Prelude, led by founder Bob Hook and Alan Duncan, will continue to manage Prelude Trust PLC, a quoted investment trust capitalised at £46m.

Hook will become chairman of the new partnership while Cazenove Private Equity’s Simon Cook will become CEO of the new company, which will have a staff of 17.

Tod Bensen, who was founding CEO of Cazenove Private Equity, will not stay on in the new entity. He is set to return to the US at the conclusion of the process.