Australia’s Archer again freezes plans to raise a sixth flagship – exclusive

The firm had been in early discussions with existing LPs about a smaller Archer Capital Fund 6 and will focus solely on its current portfolio.

Archer Capital, one of Australia’s oldest private equity firms, has again put plans to raise a sixth flagship on hold as coronavirus wreaks havoc on global businesses, Private Equity International has learned.

The Sydney-headquartered firm, which had been in early discussions with existing limited partners about Archer Capital Fund 6 last year, will focus solely on its current portfolio, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.

Archer had been expected to seek at least A$300 million ($207.4 million; €182.5 million) for the fund and was targeting a first close in the third quarter of last year, the Australian Financial Review reported, citing a private placement memorandum.

PEI understands that details of the fund had not been finalised.

Archer Capital declined to comment.

This marks the second time Archer has put Fund 6 on ice. The firm was previously expected to target a similar amount to its A$1.5 billion 2011-vintage Archer Capital Fund 5 and scrapped those plans in 2018 after revealing that founder Peter Wiggs was set to retire in the near future.

It revived plans to raise Fund 6 last year as a smaller vehicle with managing partners Peter Gold and Ben Frewin joined by Wiggs on a three-person investment committee, AFR reported.

Archer Capital Fund 4, a A$1.36 billion 2007-vintage, still owns racing championship Supercars, one of the sources said. Fund 5 owns five portfolio companies: analytics business illion, aged care operator Allity, car dealership group Autopact, New Zealand Pharmaceuticals and Kiwi education provider Aspire2.

Fund 5’s last investment was completed in 2016, the source noted.

Archer has been a stalwart of Australian private equity since its formation in 1997, deploying A$2.5 billion in 31 businesses, according to its website.

The firm joins a list of Australian PE firms to have wound down in recent years: CHAMP Ventures made the decision in 2016 after succession proved insurmountable and Ironbridge Capital is also understood to have ceased making new investments.