Firms and Funds in brief

  • Chairman of luxury goods group LVMH, Bernard Arnault, and Belgian billionaire Albert Frere are joining forces with the launch of a €1bn private equity fund.

The announcement follows reports that the new fund might be interested in buying UK car manufacturer Aston Martin from US owner Ford Motor.

Arnault will invest in the fund through his firm Groupe Arnault, with Frere committing to the venture through his Compagnie Nationale a Portefeuille (CNP). The partnership will invest in both listed and unlisted companies, mainly in Europe. According to the duo, several projects are already being studied in depth. A formal name for the fund has yet to be chosen.

Frere and Arnault are already co-owners of the Chateau Cheval Blanc vineyard in France. Arnault heads an equity fund called L Capital while Frere also owns Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, a powerful European holding company with stakes in cement maker Lafarge and petrol business Total.

Ford Motor has appointed UBS to run an auction of Aston Martin, which could fetch an estimated €1bn (US$1.26bn).

  • Kelso Place Asset Management, the London private equity firm, has closed its third fund at £100m.

The Kelso Place UK Special Situations Fund has been raised from investors in the previous Kelso Place funds and co-founding principals John Drinkwater and Sion Kearsey.

The new fund will invest in a small number of long-term investments in UK-based businesses, in any sector, but its preferred investment targets are turnarounds, non-core subsidiaries, and development capital opportunities.

The fund will make individual equity investments in any one transaction of up to £20m.

Current Kelso Place investments include Smythson of Bond Street, the stationery and leather goods business; Marshal, a provider of content security software; Sepura, a network-independent supplier of TETRA terminals; and I2S Group, a provider of data infrastructure and controls solutions.

  • Partners Group Global Opportunities (PGGO) has acquired a warehoused Mezzanine Portfolio consisting of investments valued at €104m. The Mezzanine Portfolio comprises 11 mezzanine and two second lien loans as well as two direct equity investments.

Investments include financing elements of portfolio companies owned by Apax Partners, BC Partners, Cinven, Candover, CVC Capital Partners, EQT, Montagu Private Equity, Permira, Carlyle Group and Wendel Investissement.

Partners Group’s acquisition of the Mezzanine Portfolio was facilitated through a warehouse agreement with Merrill Lynch International and Credit Suisse International.

The firm says it expects to reach an investment level of more than 55% by the end of October. In addition to the acquisition of the Mezzanine Portfolio, this will be achieved through the impending closings of two buyout direct investments, one further mezzanine investment and a secondary portfolio.