Pantheon Beats Target for Euro-Fund, Preps Asia Closing

Pantheon Ventures, which closed its first European fund-of-funds in March on ecu 214 million, expects to close its second Asian fund-of-funds over target before the end of April.

The European vehicle, originally targeted at ecu 200 million, was launched late in 1996 and brought in ecu 90 million from three core Pantheon clients at its first closing. All commitments to Pantheon Europe Fund were in place by the end of 1997, but the final closing was delayed by technical issues, said Pantheon joint managing director Richard Bowley.

UK capital accounted for approximately 80% of the final total, split equally between pension funds and insurance companies. Half the balance was raised from US investors and half from groups elsewhere, including a substantial commitment from an Australian investor.

The Pantheon Europe Fund will build a portfolio of expansion capital, buyout and mezzanine funds in Western Europe, including both multi-country funds focusing on larger deals and country-specific funds that Pantheon judges to have “a distinct competitive advantage”.

When the Europe Fund was launched, Pantheon envisaged making 12 to 15 fund investments through the vehicle. It has now increased this target to “around 20”. Richard Bowley said “Pantheon has evolved the fund’s strategy to include a broader range of fund investments, reflecting the stronger flow of interesting European products we are seeing at present”. The fund may also invest a maximum of 20% of its total in secondaries and direct investments, with direct investments restricted to a maximum of 10%.

Richard Bowley confirmed that “potentially four or five” of Pantheon core clients would invest directly alongside the fund; two participants are doing so currently.”

Asia Fund Eyes $175 Million Close

Pantheon Asia II had an original target of $150 million (ecu 137 million) and, at press time, had rounded up $120 million. Executive Vice Chairman Rhoddy Swire predicted a closing later in the month on $150 million to $175 million, based on verbal and soft-circled commitments. The fund has already invested in four Asian partnerships, three of them country-specific and one regional.

Pantheon Asia II, launched last summer, is the successor to the group’s $66 million 1994 Asian vehicle, which is now fully invested. The new fund will invest in vehicles targeting Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Hong Kong and Australia.