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Access hits €500m in fundraising frenzy

European fund-of-funds Access Capital Partners has held a final close on its fifth buyout fund as it prepares to launch two new debt products in 2012.

Kicking off what looks to be a fundraising marathon for Access Capital Partners, the fund of funds said Thursday it closed its fifth buyout vehicle on its hard-cap of €500 million, well-above the targeted €350 million, according to a company statement.

The fund, Access Capital Fund V (ACF V), which took 18 months to raise, was oversubscribed and has a balance of old and new investors.

ACF V has the same mandate as Access’ previous fund and will invest in small- and mid-market buyouts in Europe. It has already been 60 percent committed mostly in Nordic and German-speaking countries. Access would not disclose specific information about where the capital has been committed.

The fund is expected to make 40 percent secondary investments, two-thirds of which have already been deployed, according to a source close to the matter. This is an increase on its predecessor, which had 28 percent allocation for secondary investments. 

Access has also been awarded a mandate by an undisclosed US institutional investor for €200 million, according to the firm. The separate account will invest alongside the fund. 

Within a slow-growth market, you can still make money.

Dominique Peninon

Access is planning a busy 2012 and is to launch two new products in the next few months, according to a person close to the matter. It plans to raise a private debt fund that will consist of mezzanine and secondary debt products, as well as an infrastructure fund of funds product, both Europe-focused. The fund of funds is currently testing the market to determine fund sizes. 

Dominique Peninon, chairman and managing partner at Access, told Private Equity International that Access has an ambitious year ahead. It will continue to invest in Europe and hopes to serve as an advocate for the continent. He said: “Within a slow-growth market, you can still make money.”

Access’ successful fundraise for the region shows that despite distressed economies, there is still interest in Europe. While most of the new fund has been deployed to the Nordics, German-speaking countries and some to the UK, Peninon said that Southern Europe such as Spain and Italy will no doubt present interesting opportunities in the coming years.

In November 2010, Finnish asset management company Pohjola Bank took 40 percent of Access Capital Partners, leaving members of Access with a 55 percent share. Access incorporated Pohjola's private equity practice for a sum of €16 million, according to a statement from bank at the time.