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Nova adds BPEP to growing portfolio

Nova Capital Management has acquired the management company of Baring Private Equity Partners bringing its number of portfolios under management to nine. The transaction involves Nova acquiring BPEP Management (UK) Limited, which will be renamed NCM (UK) Ltd.

The business has two principal fund contracts and a number of smaller administrative-type contracts. The two funds now under Nova’s management are the Baring European Private Equity Fund and the Baring English Growth Fund, which combined include 21 underlying investments. The combined funds are valued at around €200m, with the buyout fund representing €130m and the English Growth Fund valued at €70m. The transaction does not include Baring Private Equity Partners Central Europe business.

As part of the transaction, five members of the Barings team will be joining Nova. Mark Hawkesworth and Tom Leader will join as investment directors, John Morton as a fund administrator, Nancy Thomas as an administration assistant and Lynda Abbott-Charles as a PA. In addition David Huckfield will be a consultant to Nova.

Hawkesworth and Leader will join the Nova Capital Management board and will jointly act as investment directors on the two Barings funds, while Patrick Austen will take on the role of portfolio director. Leader will also operate as an investment director on the Nova/Paul (Botts) Fund.

The move seems a logical step for Hawkesworth who is a senior and well-respected professional in the private equity industry. Working under the Barings umbrella in a fund that is totally invested and working its way out, it is hard to recruit new people and raise a new fund. Now both Hawkesworth and Leader, who Hawkesworth brought in from Morgan Grenfell Private Equity to assist in managing the fund, become part of a growing business such as Nova, rather than part of a fund in liquidation mode.

Nova had a busy year-end and, as well as the Barings portfolio, signed a contract to acquire 25 venture investments from Siemens. This was a highly competitive process and is a major development for Nova’s venture team led by David Tate and Olav Ostin. The transaction was backed by Greenpark.

The team also completed the sale of CRP Flexrite from the TPEF (Albermarle) portfolio for an undisclosed sum.

Nova also celebrated the acquisition by CIPI (the AEA Technology plc portfolio assets) of a further 60% holding in the portfolio company GTLM, part of Accentus, for $9.8m, funded by Coller Capital.

Finally, the team is close to achieving an exit from The Scotsman Hotel Group, out of the Nova/Paul (Botts) Fund.