Private Equity: Cazenove enters PE game

Cazenove & Co, one of the few remaining independent securities firms in the UK, has branched out into private equity investment under the leadership of Tod Bensen. Bensen, a US national, has been with Cazenove & Co for 14 years and was most recently the partner in charge of the firm’s international syndication team. Cazenove Private Equity, as the new operation will be known, is investing from its first fund – Cazenove New Europe Access Fund – which will be capped at GBP250 million (EURO405 million). However Bensen suggests the second and final closing is likely to be set at around $235 million. Cazenove & Co has made a sizeable investment in the fund, which Bensen describes as meaningful’.

Cazenove New Europe Access Fund is targeting technology, media, telecoms and internet investments in the second- and third-round funding stages. Deal sourcing is expected to be primarily from Cazenove & Co contacts and referrals and feeds from unnamed incubator funds. However, it is understood that there will not be any formal affiliations.

To date the fund has made four investments, but details are not being disclosed.

For the time being Bensen, who will be chief executive of the new operation housed in Cazenove’s London offices, is staffing his operation with three internal staff – as yet unnamed – and an additional three external hires.

Cazenove Private Equity will draw on its parent’s considerable resources which currently include acting for around half of the FTSE 100 index and around a third of the FTSE 250 companies. The parent firm also has 150 analysts to draw on, 50 of which operate in its target investment sectors. Cazenove & Co has distributed 200 UK domestic and 300 international equity issues with a combined value of around GBP180 billion over the last five years. And Cazenove Fund Management manages around GBP13 billion of client funds for pension funds, charities and so forth.