Cinven raises E6.5bn

UK buyout house Cinven has closed its fourth fund on €6.5bn, making it the largest private equity fund in Europe ever raised. The fund was raised in six months according to the firm, and was heavily oversubscribed. It received commitments from over 100 institutions, with more than 90% of the investors in Cinven’s third fund, a €4.4bn vehicle raised in 2002, returning for Cinven IV.

Cinven III has only made three exits to date: Fitness First, the UK gym chain that was sold to BC Partners for an enterprise value of €1.2bn in September 2005; NCP, the UK car parking business that was sold to 3i for £555m, generating a return of around 3x in July 2005; and Unique Pubs, which it sold to Enterprise Inns earning a 2x return.

Despite only three realisations, out of a total of 18, Cinven had returned almost 100% of invested capital to investors by the end of last year.

The previous holder of Europe’s largest private equity fund was CVC, which closed on €6bn in July 2005. Cinven will soon be superceded in its fund raising efforts however by Permira, which is expected to close on around €10bn