May 2006 issue

Editor’s Note

Too much of a good thing?

A record private equity fund raising year in 2005 and greater predicted for 2006 has intensified the spotlight on the private equity asset class. In 2005 M&A activity in the UK was dominated by private equity buyers, with them making up more than 50% of the total value of transactions during the year. The importance of private equity bidders in the M&A arena is expected to grow, a trend that will be reflected across Continental Europe. Given the swollen coffers of private equity firms and their ability and appetite to bid for increasingly large companies, they are expected to do more headline-grabbing deals this year.

News analysis

Challenges ahead for AIM

AIM is the current champion of Europe’s, if not the world’s, public markets. Tom Allchorne looks at whether the good times can last.

PE recruitment: when is the right time?

The people pages of EVCJ have been crammed over the last year, with firms recruiting in anticipation of and following new fund raisings. Bowmark Capital is one of the latest on a recruitment drive looking to appoint junior level professionals to train up before the firm goes on to raise its first fund since independence in a few years’ time. This will give the new members time to get embedded in the team before the new fund gets off the ground and seems to be a popular strategy for most firms with the mindset that recruitment in private equity should be a gradual process and not just a mad rush before a fund raising. Angela Sormani reports.

Growing PE market sparks competition concerns

As the private equity market in Europe reaches record levels in terms of both fund raising and deal sizes, a rise in competition concerns is predicted as private equity portfolios become larger and businesses within these portfolios are merged to create larger animals, consequently gaining ever larger market shares. While in the past private equity deals have not tended to raise many competition concerns, the authorities are becoming increasingly aware of these deals and are being forced to look at such transactions and also the companies within the private equity firm’s portfolio more closely. Angela Sormani reports.

News highlights

Cazenove PE and Prelude to merge

BoI opens in Germany

Europe’s VCs big funders of biotech

Interregnum’s secondary sale collapses

AnaCap targets financial services

Oxford and Cambridge money race

Buyout news

UK PtPs ill fated in Q1

UK buyout market fails to impress

Seed through early stage

RisingStars Fund II reaches first close

Venturefest in its eighth year

Cambridge Consultants restarts corp venture unit

Triangle sells portfolio

Fund news

Lead story

Euro mezz attracts funds

Another record year is predicted for the European mezzanine market and alternative asset manager GSC Partners is ready to benefit from the opportunities on offer. The firm has just closed its second mega mezzanine offering with over €1bn for investment in European mezzanine transactions. Angela Sormani looks at where that money is heading.

Quick view

SEP fund launch

Schroders FoF close

Syngenta launches US$100m biotech fund

Big Bang has 1st close on €17.3m

Puma VCT III & IV raise £39m

Primary Capital raises £200m

IMAC raises £150m

Northzone closes fifth fund

Polaris closes fund

Exit news

Lead story

Legrand IPO sparks stampede

French electrical equipment manufacturer Legrand became one of the most successful private equity-backed IPOs when it floated on Euronext Paris. The offering was oversubscribed by 30x and the shares were so popular it pushed the price of the company beyond the limits allowed by the stock exchange, forcing trading to be suspended for 15 minutes.

Quick view


Earlybird sells Identify Software

Advent sells Terapia

3i and Accent no longer in Alignment

3i sells minority stake in Fairways

Sogetrel sold in secondary buyout

Allianz sells Hansen Transmissions

Mayfair Gaming changes PE hands

Paragon passes from Duke St to HgCapital

Irish VCs exit SteelTrace

Mecatherm secondary buyout

Astorg sells RLD

Barclays PE trebles Cabot investment

Renovo float

Stroili Oro in secondary buyout

GIMV sells Food Partners

Zumtobel plans IPO


ABN sells RTD

Magix IPO

Lionhead Studios sold to Microsoft Game Studios


Italian PE on the up

PE fund raising predictions for 2006

PE fund raising set to beat 2005

Israeli tech raises US$360m


Quick view

Kirkland appts

TVM promotes

SVC recruits

IFE Conseil hires

BoI opens in Germany

TA appts

Springwell renamed

Close Bros expands

Bridgepoint appts

Linklaters promotes

Lehman appts

CVC appts

Sovereign hires

Capital Dynamics reshuffle

Actis appts

DLJ recruits

HgCapital expands

BoI builds

3i promotes

ECI recruits

WPE promotes


Southern belles

Most of the interest in private equity activity in Southern Europe is concentrated on the Spanish and Italian markets, with Spain witnessing a significant upsurge in deals in the last year while Italy continues to under-perform considering the size of its economy. Patrick McCurry reports.

The problem with France

The strikes and riots over the new labour proposals by the French Government have made headlines around the world, painting a picture of a country confused about its role in a free market global economy. Tom Allchorne looks at whether charges of protectionism and insularity can be levelled at the private equity industry in France.

LP Talking Head

Taking a view: SVG Capital

LP Corner

Listed fund-of-funds

Like any apparently great idea, when there are only a handful of players carrying out said idea, it’s natural to wonder why more people aren’t doing it. On the face of it a listed fund-of-funds (FoF) looks like a good proposition for investors seeking both liquidity and access to private equity. Tom Allchorne looks at why there aren’t more of them.

Legal & Regulatory

China: VC regulations

Investing in privately-owned companies in China is sometimes compared to hitting a moving target not only because product and technological developments are so rapid but the markets in which those growth companies are operating can become saturated with competitors in a matter of months. Anthony O’Connor reports

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