Activa targets €320m for Fund III

The French firm’s second fund collected the same amount in 2007 and is now more than 75% invested.

Paris-based mid-market firm Activa Capital has begun marketing its Fund III with a €320 million target, according to several people with knowledge of the matter. 

The firm is seeking the same amount it raised for Fund II in 2007, however it was unclear at press time whether it planned to set a higher hard-cap for Fund III should that be warranted.

Activa declined to comment. 

Fund II is now more than 75 percent invested, having done its latest deal last month with the purchase of industrial group Nexeya. That followed its investment in La Maison Bleue, a childcare nursery group, in December 2012. 

Activa has been in exclusive negotiations to acquire a 10th asset for its Fund II, with one source adding a deal was likely to be announced in coming weeks. 

Limited partners in the firm's Fund II included the Finnish Local Government Pensions Institution (KEVA), Hermes GPE, Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, Graphite Capital and Mandatum Life Insurance, according to PEI's Research & Analytics team.

It comes to market for Fund III at a challenging time for French fund managers. A combination of macroeconomic worries, political backlash and regulatory concerns has made it difficult for French GPs and slowed fundraising in the country to a crawl for most of 2012. Many firms subsequently opted to postpone planned fundraises until the environment improved. 

Conditions have somewhat ameliorated since – with more clarity over the government’s agenda and a sense that the economy is slowly recovering – leading some GPs to return to market. That includes PAI Partners, which is targeting €3 billion for its Fund VI, and fellow large-cap player LBO France, which in May revealed its intention to raise a €1 billion vehicle. 

Aside from fundraising, French GPs have also had to face a challenging dealflow environment. A number of fund managers, including Activa, have looked at alternative ways to shore up investor interest and generate investment opportunities. Last October, the firm partnered with three European GPs to create the Private Equity Network, a group that seeks to foster cross-border buy-and-build and portfolio company expansion by allowing expertise and intelligence sharing between its members.

Chaired by Charles Diehl, a co-founding partner of Activa Capital, the network also comprises the UK’s Graphite Capital, German-based ECM and Spain’s MCH Private Equity. It could in due course be expanded to other regions, according to its members, including to markets outside of Europe.