Doughty hits €3bn buyout target

Doughty Hanson, a UK-based private equity firm headed by Nottingham Forest football club owner Nigel Doughty, has raised its target of €3bn for its fifth buyout fund, double the size that its predecessor raised in 2004.

Employees, headed by founders Doughty and Richard Hanson, committed €150m to the fund, with the bulk of the remainder coming from existing investors in previous funds complemented by select institutions in North America, Europe and Asia.

Limited partners include Allianz Private Equity, HarbourVest Partners; Ilmarinen Insurance; JPMorgan Asset Management; Morley Fund Management; Partners Group; Pantheon Ventures; the State of Michigan Public Employee Pension Fund; the University of Texas Investment Management Company; Verizon Investment Management; and other unnamed public and private entities.

In regional terms, about 49% of commitments came from European investors, 32% from US investors, and 19% from Asia and the Middle East.

As with previous funds, Doughty Hanson will focus on mid-market to large-sized European businesses with enterprise values of between €250m and €1bn. Fund V has already made two acquisitions: Avanza, Spain’s largest independent bus operator and Doughty’s first acquisition in the country since opening a local office last year, for a reported €600m; and Norit, a Dutch supplier of purification technologies, which has estimated revenues for 2007 of €369m.

Fund IV raised €150m in 2004 and has had one exit to date: Saft, a battery manufacturer, was finally exited in April following a recapitalisation in 2005 and a listing on Euronext in 2005.

Robert Venes