Exponent doubles up for fund II

Exponent Private Equity, a mid-market private equity firm formed by former 3i executives, has held the final closing of its second fund with commitments of £805m (€1.08bn).

Exponent Private Equity Partners II is double the size of its predecessor, which raised £400m in 2004. Exponent was founded in the same year by Richard Campin, Chris Graham, Hugh Richard and Tom Sweet-Escott.

The first fund is now roughly 80% invested in eight transactions: a £235m acquisition of TSL Education from News International in October 2005, sold to Charterhouse in May 2007; Durrants Media Monitoring, bought from August Equity for £82m in April 2006; graduate recruitment publisher Group GTI in June 2006; Trainline, acquired from Virgin for £163m in June 2006; V-Holdings, a ship management group, bought for US$340m in March 2007; electronic payment provider Cardsave in August of last year, and most recently, fashion handbag brand Radley, bought from Phoenix Private Equity for £130m in December.

Capital came from a broad spread of investors based in the UK (29%), Continental Europe (22%), the US (42%) and the rest of the world (6%), many of which had invested in the first fund. Investors included funds managed by Pathway, Pantheon Ventures, Danske Private Equity, MassPRIM, OMERS Capital Partners, NYL Capital Partners and Bank of Scotland, as well as substantial US endowment and European private family sources.

Exponent will continue its focus on the media, business and financial services, healthcare and leisure and consumer sectors, committing up to £200m in any one transaction.

The fund’s legal adviser was Debevoise & Plimpton and the placement agent was Helix Associates.