Lion due to close fund on target

Newly-minted Lion Capital is heading towards a successful close on its first fund since formalising its split from Hicks Muse Tate & Furst on April 28. The former Hicks Muse (Europe) operation started pre-marketing in late 2003, with a target of €750m to €1bn. Investor sources said the firm had met the upper target, with a few further LPs completing the decision-making process.

Lion Capital is in the process of wrapping up the fundraising and will close out this month. The investor syndicate is diverse, with significant participation from US-based LPs looking to gain exposure to Europe.

When pre-marketing began Lion Capital was still annexed to the Hicks Muse Group. The split had been expected before it was formally announced by Lyndon Lea, who heads up Lion’s team of 12 investment professionals based in London.

“Lion Capital is well positioned to continue to build on the franchise that we have created over the past seven years in the European private equity market. Whilst our investment strategy remains unchanged under our new regime, our independence will enhance our ability to focus on building value for our LPs,” Lea said at the time of the split.

The firm has invested €2bn in companies across Europe since 1998. Recent investments included the £642m buyout of Weetabix in 2003 and the £101m buyout of Jimmy Choo last year.