Venture Capital – Regent and CEA to team up

As companies in the emerging technology and new media industries go global’ as they struggle for market position, their need for advisers and funders with a genuinely international perspective intensifies. The December merger between Communications Equity Associates International (CEAI) and Regent Associates serves to highlight this trend. CEAI is an affiliate of CEA, the US-based telecoms, entertainment and media merchant bank that has completed more than 700 transactions worldwide, while Regent Associates is Europe’s leading M&A adviser for companies in the IT sector, with some 250 transactions under its belt.

In parallel with the merger, both Regent and CEA confirmed their intention of moving strongly into the private equity and fund management business’. CEA is looking to develop funds in excess of $1 billion (euros 990 million) in addition to the $500 million it already manages through six funds, namely: Baring Communications Equity (Asia-Pacific) Ltd; Australasia Media & Communications Fund; Baring Communications Equity (Emerging) Europe; CEA Capital Partners Germany; Baring Communications Equity Ltd; and CEA Capital Partners USA.

Regent Associates has an established relationship with Geocapital Partners, the specialist communications and IT venture capital house. As well as playing an instrumental role in helping to set up the firm’s European operation in London, Regent Associates is a special General Partner in the Geocapital Eurofund.

Chief executive Peter Rowell discloses that Regent also has plans to put more private equity funds together, although whether this will be done in conjunction with CEA or via another route is not yet determined.

The first vehicle launched by the merged entity therefore looks likely to be a new CEA European fund to build on the remarkable successes it has already achieved in the region, in particular through the CEA Capital Partners Germany Fund.