Hicks Muse Heads Towards Europe

Having moved beyond the US into Latin America, Hicks, Muse Tate & Furst is apparently now finalising plans to expand its sphere of operations into the European market.

At its annual LP meeting in April, the firm announced plans to open a London office to focus on European investments, Hicks Muse fund investors reported.

John Muse, chief operating officer and managing director of the Dallas-based firm, said at the meeting that Hicks Muse will soon begin to target European deals, in parallel with its activities in the US and Latin America.

At the same meeting, offer documents were distributed for Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Equity Fund IV. This fund, which the firm began pre-marketing last year, is reported to have a target of $3.5 billion (ecu 3.2 billion).

John Muse had not returned calls at press time, but a Hicks Muse spokesperson confirmed that the group will soon open a London office and said that John Muse would probably spend much of his time working in Europe.

Hicks Muse did not comment on whether it would raise a separate fund for Europe or use equity from Fund IV. The third Hicks Muse fund, which raised $2.5 billion in 1996 and 1997, permitted part of the capital to be invested outside the US. Hicks Muse invoked this clause when it began investing in Latin America, before its decision to launch a separate vehicle for the region. This fund, Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Latin America Partners, launched with an initial target of $500 million, held a first close on $652 million in March and is now expected to hit $1 billion before the end of the second quarter.