3i launches E3bn buyout fund

The group’s fourth pan-European buyout fund will target the midmarket, with up to E1.5bn coming from third parties.

3i, Europe’s largest venture capitalist has launched its fourth pan-European buyout fund, to be invested in the middle market.

The group, whose fundraising campaign is likely to benefit from a string of successful recent exits including the buyouts of Go, Fairview Holdings and Coutts Consulting, is looking to raise E1.5bn from third party investors and match every Euro raised with balance sheet money.

UBS Warburg will act as placement agent for the fund.

3i’s buyout business is run by Jonathan Russell, who sits on the group’s executive committee. The new vehicle will add significantly to the group’s firepower in the European midmarket, following on from the E2bn fund raised in 1999.    

The initiative is further evidence that mid-size European deals are very much regarded flavour of the year by private equity investors. 3i’s move comes shortly after Bridgepoint Capital closed on E2bn for an oversubscribed midmarket fund. Botts and Company are out raising a E325m vehicle, and Englefield Capital, led by Dominic Shorthouse, is looking for E450m.