November 2004 issue

News highlights

News analysis

PFI and PPP: private equity’s cousin coming of age

The end of September marked an important step in the maturity of one of private equity’s lesser-known cousins, infrastructure investment. Essential Public Infrastructure Capital Plc (Epic) issued £31.75m floating-rate credit-linked notes in what was the first time a pool of Private Finance Initiative (PFI) loans had been securitised in a publicly-rated debt transaction. Tom Allchorne reports

French exits return

Figures recently published by AFIC, the French private equity association, reveal private equity exits in France for the first six months of 2004 up by 89% compared to the same period last year. In March, at the annual AFIC conference in Paris, many GPs were wondering aloud when the exit window would re-open. It would appear that their questions have been answered, and positively. Tom Allchorne look at whether the situation is quite as positive as it first appears.

Care services: the next big thing?

With West Private Equity making a three times return on its investment in Southern Cross Healthcare when it was sold in a secondary buyout to Blackstone, private equity firms are watching the care services space with interest. Consolidation is on the cards, but who is set to benefit? Bidding wars look set to break out. Angela Sormani reports.

Mid-market funds: are the lines blurred?

The definition of the mid-market has expanded in recent years, but many LPs consider the term too broad to be helpful. It is difficult to work out what is and isn’t mid-market any more and it is important for LPs to have some form of differentiation from an allocation point of view because they need to be consistent when presenting fund information to their investment committee. At the moment mid-market seems to be everything that isn’t defined as venture or a mega deal. How are the LPs meant to differentiate, asks Angela Sormani?

Private equity news

Debevoise breaks into the magic circle

Private equity and property: best long-term investments

Vicky Mudford branches out

Standard Life sets up new LP service

Legal action against firms to increase?

US attracts European investors

EI opens Romanian office

GSC sets up investor relations board

Fitch looks at PE impact on chemicals industry

Swedish pension fund looking to invest US$400m in private equity

Hedge funds into mezzanine?

UK buyouts boom

Busiest quarter for buyouts since 2000

Euro LBO volumes up

Fofs fund raising boom

Venture capital news

VCT handbook launched

Tech appeal?

Further uncertainty for uni spin-outs

Italian venture capital: signs of recovery

Fund news

First close for Russia Partners II

Artemis launches VCT2

Electra launches Electra Kingsway VCT2

Warburg Pincus eyes mega fund

Active Capital reaches first close on debut fund

Quester reopens VCT 5

SVG raises €400m CFO

Aberdeen Growth Opportunities VCT 2 launches

First close for GEF

Doumar unveils mezz fund

Coalfields Enterprise Fund opens for business

Exit news

Apax sells Symphonie On Line

Hicks Muse divests Grupo Media Capital

Blackstone buys Cine-UK

Opera exits Item

AIM’s international ambition

Swiss Life sells portfolio to Pantheon

Difficult times ahead for European IPO market says PwC

Enterprise Investors makes 7.3x return on software IPO

Active Hotels sold for £90m

Broadcom acquires Alphamosaic

Permira sells M&W to PPM

3i exits Trigenix

3i sells Canvas Holidays

Partial exit for VCP via Borsodchem issue

Recap provides return for Sovereign


WP Carey moves

Interregnum appts

WJB Chiltern renames

Acanthus moves

Sovereign appoints

Latham new partners

Actis recruits

AllStars awards

New Mourant office

Pinsent Masons merger

White & Case appts

Nordea reshuffle

Linklaters promotes

Kleinwort recruits

Pirie to Manchester

Finama appoints

DSCDM name change

Innova Capital appts

Haines Watts recruits

3i reshuffle

Duke Street appts

Prelude appoints

New CEO at ECI

EI in Romania

SJ Berwin appoint Tim Wright

Fisher to Addleshaw

London Fund Managers name change

Reithinger to GLSV

Lazard appts MD

Directorbank hires

Partners Group in Singapore


Secondaries: a market diversifying

With yet more money flooding into the secondaries space, talk has again arisen that the market is close to saturation point. But what this debate often overlooks is the changing nature of the secondaries market, which is becoming less about the sale of distressed assets and more about active portfolio management. And as sellers’ needs have changed, so buyers have developed new strategies. Tom Allchorne reports

PE Insurance: A growing but still sceptical market

There is little doubt private equity insurance offerings have become a lot more sophisticated over the past few years. Product suites have grown and brokers and underwriters are becoming more familiar with the M&A and buyout process. They are beginning to look in more detail at the rationale behind the decisions of private equity firms to buy businesses, as well as their return and exit strategies. Warranties and indemnity (W&I), litigation buyout and tax opinion liability insurance among other offerings are also evolving. But this is largely a reaction to the industry’s fall from grace a few years ago when products were expensive and frequently missold. James Brandman reports.

Buyouts: Debt funding post-transaction

As European LBO activity continues to show an increasing volume across Europe, the reliance on traditional debt funding post-transaction can be financially crippling for some companies, especially if they fall below investment grade status. Anthony O’Connor reports.

LP Corner: When GPs go part-time

Over the last couple of years the US has seen a series of senior partners take a step back from the front line of private equity and go part-time. There have only been a handful of examples in Europe, most of which are confidential, but Tom Allchorne examines whether the trend will catch on here and what plans firms have in place to deal with such situations.

Legal & Regulatory: Full disclosure?

The UK private equity sector is gearing up for new freedom of information legislation, which could require public sector limited partners to disclose information about funds. But how far does the new legislation go and will it lead to conflict between fund managers and limited partners? Patrick McCurry reports.

Support Services Supplement

What the LP wants

The pressure to successfully manage a private equity fund is intense. This pressure starts from day one with the development of the fund and continues with deal sourcing; portfolio management and liquidation of the investments. As a consequence many GPs look for support in maintaining the governance integrity of their fund by using services which allow the team to remain active in deal-doing while back-office operations are managed by a third party. And by outsourcing some of the administrative and business management functions, a private equity house can reduce time and cost while gaining access to experts in the areas of tax, securities, employee benefits, debt finance, real estate and human resources. Angela Sormani reports.

Jersey’s fast-track fund reforms

Jersey aims to capture a greater share of alternative investment strategy fund business through its new expert funds classification and streamlined authorisation process. Joanna Gant reports

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