CHAMP Ventures to wind down – Exclusive

The firm has scrapped plans for a new fund and will instead focus on managing the remaining assets in its portfolio.

Australian mid-market firm CHAMP Ventures has decided to wind down the firm, Private Equity International has learned.

CHAMP Ventures will not return to market with a successor vehicle to Fund VII, which is now fully invested, and will instead concentrate on managing the remaining assets in its portfolio.

It is understood that issues associated with succession planning have proven an insurmountable roadblock for the firm.

CHAMP Ventures did not respond to a request for comment at press time.

Champ Ventures Investment Trust Number 7 (CVIT 7) closed in July 2012 after 11 months in market on A$475 million ($342 million; €314 million), above its initial target of A$450 million, according to PEI Research & Analytics.

Succession planning has been an issue facing the private equity industry in Australia for quite some time. One firm that has successfully managed the transition to a new generation of leadership is CHAMP Private Equity, of which CHAMP Ventures is a sister fund but operates independently.

In February 2014 CHAMP Private Equity founders Bill Ferris and Joe Skrzynski handed over the reins to John Haddock, appointing him CEO and CIO. Haddock oversees the firm’s day-to-day management activities and drives the investment programme. Both Ferris and Skrzynski remain at the firm as co-founding partners and co-chairmen of CHAMP’s board of directors and investment committee.

“Maybe a question ahead for the Australian PE industry is will all firms successfully transition their leadership to the next generation?” Haddock told PEI last year. “It’s not an easy thing to do.”

Mid-market firm Quadrant Private Equity has also taken steps to secure its future. In 2015 former managing director Chris Hadley was appointed executive chairman, and Marcus Darville and Justin Ryan were appointed managing partners.

More than half of the capital raised for CHAMP Ventures last fund came from non-Australian investors, including 25 percent from Asia, 20 percent from the US, and 11 percent from Europe and the Middle East, according to a statement from the firm at the time of the fund close.

Investors in the fund include Alaska Permanent Fund, Telstra Superannuation Fund and Media Super, according to PEI Research & Analytics.

CHAMP Ventures invests in the Australasian lower mid-market, typically investing between A$20 million and A$55 million in establishing companies with enterprise values of up to A$200 million. Investments in CVIT 7 include New Zealand outdoor equipment and clothing retailer Macpac, in which the firm acquired a majority stake in January.