Alantra buys large chunk of Access Capital

The deal allows Access, a French fund of funds manager, to 'reaffirm its independence' in the face of a wave of consolidation in Europe.

Access Capital is getting a new strategic investor, maintaining its independence amid a wave of consolidation in the European mid-market.

Investment bank and asset manager Alantra is to acquire a large minority stake in the Paris-based firm, a fund of funds manager with €8 billion in assets under management, from existing shareholder OP Financial Group, according to a statement from Alantra.

The Madrid-headquartered firm will purchase an initial 24.5 percent interest in Access for €19 million. In 2022, it has the option to buy the remainder of OP’s stake if OP exercises the option to sell, bringing Alantra’s total stake to 49 percent.

It is not clear why OP has chosen to sell.

The remaining majority stake will be owned by Access’s managing partners Agnès Nahum and Philippe Poggioli and a group of partners, a separate statement from the French firm noted.

The deal broadens Access’s ownership across a wider group of partners and gives it the opportunity to “reaffirm [its] independence while so many of our competitors have been recently acquired.”

For Alantra, the deal provides a platform to scale its existing business and access to funds of funds, co-investment and secondaries strategies. Up to now it has invested directly through buyout, venture capital and mezzanine funds.

Alantra will gain a share of profits from Access’s performance in 2018, to be paid as a dividend in 2019.

The European mid-market has seen a wave of consolidation in the past few years. In April 2017, FTSE 100 firm Schroders agreed to acquire Swiss private equity firm Adveq, creating Schroder Adveq. This followed Unigestion’s acquisition of Swiss counterpart Akina in February.

In November 2017, Eurazeo acquired a 30 percent stake in private equity manager Rhône Group. Rhône continues to operate independently with three Eurazeo representatives on its board.