Exponent reaches final close

Exponent Private Equity has reached a final close on its first fund, Exponent Private Equity Partners, with commitments of £400m. The fund has been raised just five months after the private placement memorandum was first issued. Helix Associates Limited acted as exclusive placement agent for the fund.

Exponent was founded by four former senior directors of 3i’s London-based buyout business; Tom Sweet-Escott, Richard Campin, Chris Graham and Hugh Richards.

Exponent will continue the founding partners’ focus on investing in larger, more complex mid market buyouts of UK companies and can commit up to £100m in any one transaction. The team is best known for the high-profile deals such as Go-Fly, the low-cost airline, Pinewood-Shepperton Studios, which successfully floated on the London Stock Exchange in May, and YBR Group, the telephone directories business recently refinanced through the issue of a high yield bond.

Commitments came from a broad spread of experienced and sophisticated investors in the UK (28%), continental Europe (30%) and the US (42%.) The investor base was dominated by fund-of-funds and included funds managed by Pantheon Ventures, Allianz Private Equity Partners, Danske Private Equity, HarbourVest Partners, Hermes Private Equity, LGT Capital Partners, West Midlands Metropolitan Authorities Pension Fund, Massachusetts PRIM and SCM Strategic Capital Management AG, as well as substantial US endowment and European private family sources.

The fund’s legal adviser was Debevoise & Plimpton.