Candover 2005 closes on €3.5 billion

The London, Paris and Düsseldorf-based private equity firm has held a final close of its 2005 Fund six months after launching its fundraising.

European buyout firm Candover has announced the final closing of its Candover 2005 Fund with commitments of €3.5 billion ($4.1 billion), ahead of its target of €3 billion.

The Candover 2005 Fund, which, according to the firm, was significantly oversubscribed, was raised in just over six months and received commitments from 106 investors worldwide, including a €500 million investment from publicly quoted investment trust, Candover Investments plc.

Buffin: 2005 Fund now in business

Eighty percent of commitments to the new fund came from existing investors, Candover said, including CalPERS, Canada Pension Plan, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, HarbourVest, Princeton University and funds controlled by Standard Life.

New investors included Temasek (through its Havelock Fund Investments subsidiary), Partners Group, SPF Beheer and Massachussetts PRIM.

Placement agents for the 2005 Fund were Benedetto, Gartland & Company for North America, Konomi for Japan and UBS for the rest of the world. SJ Berwin and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett provided legal advice.

The 2005 Fund will follow a similar investment strategy to the Candover 2001 Fund, which closed on €2.7 billion in June 2002. The new fund will invest in mid-to-large buyouts across Europe, with an emphasis on the UK, France, Germany, Benelux, Italy, Scandinavia and Spain.

“The private equity market is growing,” Colin Buffin, managing director of Candover told PEO. “This year, the European buyout market is on course to exceed 2005 and the M&A pipeline looks good for 2006.”

Buffin confirmed that the Candover 2001 Fund is now fully invested following the acquisition of Coral Eurobet by portfolio company Gala for £2.18 billion (€3.2 billion; $3.8 billion) in October 2005. UK bingo operator Gala is co-owned by Candover, Cinven and Permira.

The 2001 Fund made 16 investments and has returned more than €1.25 billion to date, according to a statement. Liquidity events for the fund thus far include the sale of Swissport, the IPO of Aspen and the recapitalisations of Gala, Springer, Vetco and KDG. “The 2005 Fund is now in business, starting today,” added Buffin.

According to the firm, the closing of the 2005 Fund brings the aggregate total of funds raised to date to €8.7 billion.