Noble acquires Sitka

More private equity consolidation on the cards. Following various VCT mergers and acquisitions in the last year and last month’s news of UK mid-market firm Dunedin acquiring Sand Aire, Noble Fund Managers (NFM) has now acquired Sitka, the development capital firm focused on the healthcare sector. The Sitka team will join Noble Fund Manager’s existing equity and venture finance division, bringing the total number of investment professionals to 16.

Charles McMicking, Head of Private Equity at NFM, said: “The acquisition of Sitka allows us to build on our credentials as a leading VCT manager. Bringing the Sitka team on board will enrich our European capabilities and healthcare knowledge, improve our deal flow and help us to build upon a successful track record.”

Sitka manages the Sitka Health Fund VCT plc (Sitka VCT) which, since its launch in 2001, has raised over £12m and has performed strongly. Sitka VCT will join the Noble VCT plc and Noble Income and Growth VCT plc to bring the number of VCTs under NFM’s management to three.

Sitka is also well advanced in its fund raising progress for Sitka 2, an institutional fund investing in the European healthcare market.

Sitka invests in UK-based healthcare companies looking to attract between £500,000 and £1m in investment, and potentially larger sums when co-investing with other institutions. Key areas of interest include medical devices, diagnostics and instrumentation, drug discovery and delivery technologies, information technologies for healthcare and healthcare services. Sitka VCT invests in companies at various stages of their financing rounds, ranging from early stage through development funding to new share placings on AIM.

The acquisition illustrates NVM’s commitment to expanding its investment capabilities and Henry Chaplin, chief executive of NFM hopes that this will be the first of several such acquisitions.

Gerard Tardy, managing partner of Sitka, said: “We are delighted to join the Noble Group and we see this move as a key strategic step in the build up of our healthcare investment franchise both in the UK and in Europe.”

For more on private equity firm/VCT consolidation see news analysis October issue, page 4.