Athlone targets distressed TMT for E100m fund

Athlone International is aiming to capitalise on the underperformance of media and technology firms with a E100m fund targeting businesses in the UK’s Thames Valley.

Athlone International, a privately held company based in Reading in the south of England that provides business consultancy services, is planning to raise a E100m private equity fund targeting underperforming and undervalued businesses in the Thames Valley region of England.

The firm is currently in the process of launching the fund, which will seek to acquire interests in publicly traded companies with a market capitalisation of less than E80m as well as non-listed distressed TMT (telecoms, media and technology) companies where Athlone will take a controlling interest.

“We’re looking to take large majority stakes in businesses where we will be able to offer turnaround support or accelerated growth. We are ideally targeting promising, but undervalued or cash flow constrained TMT businesses active in growing technology markets,” said Jojar Singh Dhinsa, CEO of Athlone.

In addition to offering financial assistance, Athlone will aim to provide firms with management consultancy, executive search, technology support (from firms including Cisco) and a distribution network for technology services. “We have already selected a number of key partners including Inatech, PKF, Catalyst Networks and Lexington Systems.” The firm’s investment and business development teams will source opportunities, and carry out the company’s restructuring and expansion strategy.

The fund is focussed primarily on the Thames Valley region outside London, an area which Dhinsa believes will present the fund with a sufficiently broad range of opportunities. “There are over 300,000 businesses operating in the Thames Valley region. We have already identified up to 2000 opportunities for investment.”

According to Dhinsa, the fund has already generated interest from a number of investors worldwide, including an undisclosed Finnish company which has agreed to provide a cornerstone investment of up to 40 per cent. The firm says it has also received expressions of interest in the fund from private investors in Europe and South America, although it is still seeking potential investors.