Proposed Merger Creates Continental Rival to 3i –

GIMV of Belgium and Alpinvest Holding of the Netherlands look set to merge early next year, a move that would result in the formation of a continental European private equity group with a e2.3 billion asset portfolio. GIMV is expected to launch a e745 million public tender for all outstanding Alpinvest shares before the end of the year, a move which is supported by Alpinvest’s board and represents a 55% premium over Alpinvest’s closing price immediately prior to the announcement.

The merged company-whose name has yet to be determined-will cover the breadth of the venture capital and private equity spectrum.

GIMV’s expertise is concentrated in the venture and growth capital areas, with a particular emphasis on information technology and life sciences, while Alpinvest’s primary focus is on later-stage buyout and mezzanine funding. Each company had previously revealed plans to move into activities outside their current core business areas.

International Aspirations

Both firms have also already taken significant steps to expand on the international stage-GIMV through the formation of alliances with U.S. funds and the establishment of bases in Asia and Central Europe.

Alpinvest, which has offices in Naarden, The Netherlands, London and Frankfurt, has during recent years established an extensive network of strategic alliances in Europe with partners including Excel Partners in Spain, Candover and Intermediate Capital Group in the United Kingdom, Lessius in Belgium, NPE in Denmark, Private Equity Partners in Italy, TVM Technology Venture Management in Germany and, most recently, ACT Venture Capital in Ireland.

By merging, partners at the firms expect in the medium term to occupy “at least a European top five position” in the venture, growth capital and buyout markets. The new group also will step up its third-party fund management activities. The new entity will rank as the number-two listed venture and private equity provider in Europe after 3i, and Alpinvest chief executive Stan Vermeulen said the group will compete with 3i.

The merged group, to be headquartered in Antwerp, will be led by GIMV CEO Gerard Van Acker, while Stan Vermeulen will become vice chairman of the board.

ABN AMRO, which is also providing debt for the transaction, is advising GIMV, and Alpinvest’s adviser is Kempen & Co.

Meanwhile, Alpinvest recently held a e180 million closing on its private equity fund, and a dedicated technology fund is scheduled for launch during the early part of next year.